The first thing I noticed about her was a large mole on her chin which stuck out like that of the witch’s in the Wizard of Oz.
The lady was having a manicure on fingers crippled by arthritis. Some fingers were so bent, it seemed impossible to reach the nails twisted into the palms. The manicurist continued painting the nails calmly until the task was neatly done.
When it came time to move the lady from the dryer to the chair in front of the mirror, it took her great grandson; her female aide; and a male beautician to literally drag her to her seat. Why has she always refused to use a wheel chair?
I looked at her clothes which were composed of a stunning outfit with a knitted sweater, a matching cardigan and skirt. One sign of her condition she couldn’t hide was a pair of supportive black shoes.
When she was done at the beauty parlor, the lady’s gray hair was neatly coiffed, her lipstick applied and her coat placed on her shoulders.
She must be in her 90s or 100s. Her late husband, whom I discovered through beauty parlor gossip, had been the CEO of a major international corporation—-a name you would recognize immediately. The lady still lives in the great mansion she and her husband had inhabited since their marriage an estimated 72 years ago.
What is her entire history? Why does she care how she looks at her advanced age? Why didn’t she have the mole removed from her chin? Why won’t she use a wheel chair?
I mulled over these questions in my head. I thought of the other not-quite- so- old women in the beauty parlor who have had face lifts, their hair colored and every night faithfully slather their skins with anti-aging creams. Are they like her at a younger age —beginning to fight the signs of aging? Should they bother? Now, if only that old, old lady would have that mole removed from her chin—for some reason it bothered me—she might actually be following the poet Dylan Thomas’ advice:“Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”