By Matthew Robins
She told Gracie she wanted her eyebrows threaded. She said there was a place in the strip mall, around the corner from the liquor store, that did it.
Gracie told her mother the truth – that her eyebrows looked fine.
Her mother said eyebrow threading looked neat. She said she wanted to try it even if she didn’t need it.
Gracie told her if she wanted her eyebrows threaded, she ought to go and get it done. She told her mother she went by that strip mall all the time on the way to the grocery store, so stopping in to get her eyebrows threaded wouldn’t be anything. She knew her mother wasn’t afraid of going to the strip mall alone, since she went there every four years to get her driver’s license renewed.
After a few months, her mother was still telling Gracie she wanted her eyebrows threaded. She said she thought about it every time she drove past the strip mall and saw the sign for Divine Brow Threading & Lashes.
Gracie asked, “So what’s wrong? Why don’t you get it done then? Don’t you have the money or the time?”
Her mother had plenty of time and money. They both knew it. So her mother answered, “Yes. Of course. I have the money.”
So Gracie asked, “Then why don’t you get your eyebrows threaded?”
Her mother’s silence confirmed what they both already knew. The silence said it was about more than just the eyebrows.
Through the silence, her mother waited and waited for the session to get her eyebrows sculpted. She waited and waited for Gracie to deliver what she believed she needed, but, in truth, barely even wanted.
Her mother never got her eyebrows threaded. After the last time she said anything about it, the little eyebrow threading shop in the strip mall burned down. In the news it was described as arson.
Her mother told Gracie it was a shame the place burned down. She wondered aloud if they’d open up shop somewhere else.
Gracie told her mother, “Maybe the owners burned it down for the insurance.”
Her mother replied, “I think they were Asian. The Asians got it hard these days.”
Gracie agreed. She said maybe the fire was an act of aggression.
Gracie hadn’t known the day the fire would be set. It cost Gracie a lot to pay the guy to set fire to Divine Brow Threading & Lashes. Gracie paid a lot and risked a lot, so she wanted to keep some distance from it by at least not knowing the exact date. She took a huge risk, knowing her activity and the payoff might someday be traced back to her in ways neither she nor the arsonist could foresee.
The fire cost Gracie a lot more than her mother’s session of eyebrow threading would have. Still, Gracie figured it was worth it, since the act of arson was far less sever than an act of matricide. And, even with the nagging concern that the crime might someday be traced back to her, still, Gracie sleeps better than before.