In what passes for a social life these days, my most frequent interactions outside of conversations with my husband reside in the beauty world, aka mani/pedis, haircuts, brow shaping, etc.
I’m not sure if men have comparable experiences, but the intimacy of beauty rituals with people we see regularly invites a certain amount of sharing. Mostly, we discuss benign frustrations, updates, and recommendations (will our home renovation EVER be finished; when can we visit with our kids who don’t live nearby; someone’s annoying neighbor or relative; where can we find the best sushi, etc.) but sometimes I overhear a startling story.
This week, the woman getting her nails done next to me told the manicurist a peculiarly personal and grisly tale. She was in the salon with her four-year-old niece and mentioned that she is unlikely to have children herself, as she is a widow approaching her 38th birthday. She went on to recount the following: her husband’s ashes are in an urn in her home and apparently the contents also include a necklace. It seems the lid somehow became loose and the niece has recently been using it as a storage container, removing some of the ashes to make space to add her own treasures.
I couldn’t help wondering what body parts have been replaced with a four-year-old’s special possessions. And maybe it’s me, but this seemed beyond the pale of what one discusses with one’s manicurist!