You never know what might prove to be important.
Thirty years ago, I accompanied a young man on a visit to his barber. It was a small shop, in a small town - think Andy Griffith in Mayberry. I sat in a chair against the wall facing where my then fiance was getting a haircut. We three chatted and visited. I was fascinated by the barber’s technique. I had never seen a barber at work before. He was skilled and swift, but there was a discernible pattern to his spare motions. In the coming months, with money impossibly tight, I attempted to duplicate that haircut for my new husband. We both survived and through the years I got better at it.
Fast forward several years and the young man and I are standing in a hallway, in a courthouse, in a much bigger town than the one where that barbershop had been. I was struck by his haircut. It was a new style, not the one the barber had inadvertently taught me; not the one I had been replicating for eight years. The love was long gone between us, but I reflexively reached up toward his hair, commenting favorably on the style. He snapped his head away. Soon we were in a courtroom with a judge and lawyers and the marriage, neither of us should have ever entered into, was dissolved.
This afternoon, I cut my husband Chuck’s hair. I’ve been doing it for around two decades. Chuck looks nothing like my first husband. His hair is completely different as well. But that one visit to a barbershop and many years of practice, has found me working smoothly, quickly and with ease. Each time I give Chuck a haircut and trim his beard, I swear it takes ten years off him. Mind you, that’s not cumulative! But with Chuck’s birthday coming up on Tuesday, today’s cut makes him look closer to 57 than 67 - something which Chuck appreciates.
I wish I could have found a way to get to exactly this same point in my life without that first marriage. (I’m certain my ex-husband wishes the very same thing.) Chuck and I are bashert: predestined, soulmates, meant to be. But we needed all those years, the moves, the job changes, in order to finally cross paths and be together.
And without that detour to a barbershop in a very small town, I never would have learned how to cut my husband Chuck’s hair...