It's only hair...

There's a cashier at a store in my neighborhood who has the most adorable hairdo. Whenever I shop there, I can't stop looking at her... partly because I'm pretty sure it's a wig. But it's the kind of hair I wish I had: full, bouncy with just the right amount of curl, the perfect shade of brown with blond highlights, and darling bangs. A little retro; I can picture that hair looking sassy with a pair of go-go boots.

Today I go through her checkout line. She's always perky, friendly and conversational, so I decide to mention her hair. I tell her how much I love it; how it's exactly the kind of hair I wish I had, and how I love its bounce and curl.

She is flattered and surprised, and thanks me for the compliment. After a little more small talk about hair, she leans in and tells me quietly she's going through chemo and it's a wig. She doesn't normally tell people, but she's touched by the compliment. This is not her typical hairstyle, but she's enjoying it for her temporary look.

I was afraid she was going to tell me something like this and I wish for a moment that I weren't so nosy. I get all teary-eyed and try to avoid making eye contact by concentrating on my debit transaction. I say that, if I had the choice of wigs, I might go for purple or green, and she tells me that they do offer those colors and people do choose them!

So now that I know what I know, I tell her she has great taste in hair and we say goodbye.

What a cheerful, good-humored woman with a big smile and great attitude. And sadly, quite young to be going through this illness. I hope the chemo works and she recovers soon (I also not-so-secretly hope she keeps wearing the wig anyway). Her positive energy made my day.

Update, December 2011: I finally saw the cashier again this week, and she was wearing her natural hair. So, first of all, she's still with us. And second, she has apparently chosen not to keep wearing her wig. :-) I was very happy to see her.

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