This morning, while running my fingers through my hair, 12 strands of it came loose. I’ve noticed, lately, that there has been more hair in the brush, bottom of the tub and even some on my pillow. I gathered my 12 strands of dearly departed hair and began to mindlessly weave them together, thinking back to Saturday when Audra and I left our families in a hurry to soak up some quiet at a nail shop while getting (much needed) pedicures.
Quiet in a nail shop is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. I suppose if I wanted to sit there half asleep, I should have gone by myself, but I didn’t. In a half daze of trying to fade away, I found myself nodding ridiculously while making small talk with my partner in relaxation. I’m not sure what we discussed, but it happened. Just as our pedicures began two more customers had entered the shop. Sisters and ex-schoolmates of ours, we knew them and they knew us. But, we all played a little game of “look how horribly caught up I am with this thing on the floor, that I definitely could not possibly notice anything, much less anyone, else.” I’m not sure why it happened, or that I cared very much that it did. I guess the silver lining would be, that we all took part in the act and therefore it was an effort of equal proportion. What I did notice, before my attempt to be desperately caught up in anything, was the younger sister’s (YS) braided hair. It was a thick beautiful braid that seemed to sear my mind, as I couldn’t get past its magnificence. It was almost worth breaking our enchanting spell of being too busy to ask unending questions in its regard. Somewhere between halfway deciding that being too busy was a silly method for grown women (who happened to be sitting in the same room for an undetermined amount time) and holding my stance, I remembered the last conversation I had with the YS and it had to do with Brandy.
Brandy had brown hair and freckles that reminded me of Peppermint Patty’s; scattered purposefully over the bridge of her nose and just on the rounds of her cheeks. They were quiet freckles, barely noticeable at first glance. When she smiled her eyes smiled, lighting up and shinning through crescent slits. We weren’t friends in high school, she was a cheerleader and I had no social standing whatsoever, aside from the weird girl persona I picked up along the way. It wasn’t until after high school, that we got to know each other. “Knowing you now, we would have been great friends in school,” she told me one day. I chuckled (in an agreeing manner), knowing that there was probably truth in that statement but it didn’t matter much at the time. We never became real friends, whatever that amounts to. But, we remained close enough to keep tabs on one another.
One day, I ran into YS, while visiting a sister of mine and she had given me the latest update with Brandy (she and Brandy had been best friends since high school), who had been hospitalized. “She’d love to see you and Austin,” she told me. I told her that I would plan a visit and I had intended to do so, but instead let life get in the way. She died around the time they had planned on releasing her. She was the 2nd person I had ever seen lifeless, the first being my father’s stepfather at the age of 7. Older the 2nd time I found my perspective relatively similar (in how remarkable it was that it didn’t look like death had touched either of them) and drastically different (in learning the importance of letting go).
Months after the funeral had passed, YS and I crossed paths again and we shared sorrow of Brandy’s passing. Sitting in the chair with my feet soaking in the water, I realized our common tie was no longer her best friend, but her death and our sorrow. Seated there, we all remained busy in our own lives; the ones we moved onto such a long time ago. There is something to be said of letting what will be, be…it could end up being a great gift to bestow upon yourself or others. The hushing of history passed, to allow room for the present.
Somewhere along this train of thought, I had fashioned my loose hair into a bow. Pressing it gently into my palm, I think once more of Brandy and her cheery smile and remind myself how thankful I should feel every single day. Just another sign, I suppose, to not sweat the small stuff.