Monday, November 25, 2013

Keeping a Secret

I’ve known Tish, my hairdresser, since the 80’s when I stumbled into her shop with a hair emergency. Not wanting to do anything too drastic to my long hair, I had let another hair pro lop off inches to my shoulders, but the outcome was dreadful. I had paid good money to resemble a sphinx. Seriously, it is not a good look to have your entire head look like a pyramid. Thank goodness Tish had time to remedy the situation.
With a good eye for style, she washed, clipped, and blew dry my mop into a more appealing do, and in return she became my new hair pro forever more. Back then, Tish and her husband, Dana worked together at their salon on Jefferson Street, and I liked their easy banter, which often included their clientele.
Tish and I had much in common both being the same age and married with two children. We discussed friends, relatives, trips, and holidays. When Whitney, Tish’s niece and Jim, my youngest son started dating, we had even more to talk about.

Shhh! Don’t tell the kids. They don’t like it when we talk about them.  

My hair style hasn’t changed much over the years and I still rely on her today, but during my last appointment six weeks ago, we were both oddly quiet, and it had everything to do with keeping a secret. October 9th, 2013, I entered the shop with my mouth zipped shut. I was determined not to share any information about Jim and Whitney. Jim had confided in his father and me recently that he had planned to propose to Whitney on her birthday, which happened to be the next day, October 10th.

I had known about the engagement when I made my appointment, but I couldn’t delay my do any longer. That familiar sphinx still haunted me when I looked in the mirror. I would have to keep my mouth shut. I didn’t want to spoil their surprise and, I might add, no one had proposed yet, and no one had accepted.
I did my part by not saying a word, but I noticed Tish was oddly quiet too, a mystery. I tried, “Can you believe it hasn’t rained this season?”
"No.” Tish looked about to yawn.
I led again, “Do you get many trick-or-treaters for Halloween?” Luckily, that subject took hold for a few minutes, and the owner of the shop sparked some interest when he walked in off the street carrying a scarecrow to be used as a decoration.
Then the conversation waned again. I sighed and closed my eyes, but the sound of the scissors grew unbearably loud. Snip, snip, snip. What was wrong with Tish? I asked about her health. She mumbled a few words and then, thankfully, the blow dryer muted everything. After that it was time to pay and leave. Good for me! I had kept my secret.
Six weeks later, with my hair out of control again, I called Tish to make an appointment. By then, Jim and Whitney’s news has made the rounds, emails, Facebook, and good old-fashioned word of mouth. I laughed when she congratulated me over the phone about the engagement. I told her I was relieved now because we could talk about the wedding. Jim had proposed and Whitney had said yes.
Tish said, “I knew about Jim’s plan to propose when you came in last month, but I didn’t want to say anything either, thinking it would be awful if I knew before the groom’s mother." 
We congratulated each other on keeping a huge secret, although it’s still a mystery to me as to how she knew about the engagement plan. No matter. For now, I’ll just have to assume aunts know these things.  

Whitney and Jim