The anticipation is the worst part. You know that in a half hour it will all be over and worth it. You try to distract yourself, think happy thoughts as you feel the warm paste on your leg grow bigger. Just as you start feel the breeze come across your face while lying on the beach…YOWZA! There it is!

“So Miss Samantha, you were saying?,” I hear her asking as the tingling spreads across my thigh and my eyes fill with tears. It had been a while since I went in for a wax, and I was due. Overly due. I can’t believe I had waited this long into the summer, especially when swimsuit season starts as early as March in South Louisiana.

She was a light-skinned, beautiful African-American woman with kind eyes and a gentle smile. Strong voice, assertive. Welcomed me right in. I knew I was in for it. The aesthetician room was my torture chamber, and she the master. So abruptly I switched from the dimly lit, aromatherapy-smelling massage room across the hallway. This one was bright and sterile. Like a doctor’s office filled with tools. Preparing myself for vulnerability, I zeroed in on that boiling pot of wax and took a deep breath. I remember thinking, why on earth did I not schedule the massage AFTER the wax?

I have to state though, since becoming a mother I am somewhat superhuman. I have been able to recondition what hurts and what hurts badly. All you have to do is this, as soon as that pain starts to take over, think…Contraction! If you’ve given birth, I can swear by this strategy. People say that a contraction feels like a really, really bad menstrual cramp. I wanted to strangle those people as I was in labor. Hell no, it did not ‘feel’ like a menstrual cramp. Compared to what I was feeling, a menstrual cramp was a nice slice of strawberry shortcake. Anyway, it works. Paper cuts, toe jams, hitting your head, even a wax… just as the words fumble out of your mouth, redirect those thoughts. Holy Mother F….Contraction! Hmm. Doesn’t feel so bad after all.

Strange isn’t it? Those brief moments you feel at one with a complete stranger. A connection. Normally people work at these connections. Friendships, relationships, etcetera. This time it fell right into my lap. Literally, with the wax and everything. The aesthetician’s words were telling my story. I didn’t even probe. Just laid there…Contraction!… and taking it all in. Every word. I felt the tears run down my cheeks, not from the burning sensation all the way down my legs. But from emotion. All I could think about as this woman laid out her life to me is what an amazing person she was. Resilient to the fullest, but ever so faithful and honest.  The situation with her ex-husband. A better person because of what she had gone through, and a strong mother whose main priority was a delicate little girl, or diva as she joked. She was talented too, a psychology degree just like me, but a wearer of many hats. An actress in the local theater, a dermatologist’s assistant, a graduate student. Aesthetician on the side, only for her preferred clients. Yea, she knew she was going places as did I when we were both young and naive. As far as we knew it, the world was in our palms.

I left the spa feeling rejuvenated in every way. I can thank that woman for that as well as my smooth legs. Every day we pass by so many people. People we don’t know one bit. Every one with a different story. Then in one second, when the stars align, two of those people connect in a way that was for sure intentional, and probably not under our control. I’ve had many, many of these moments. Each one with so much meaning too. Those instant connections make me so grateful for humanity.


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