She wrangles two young boys through a Petco on a Saturday afternoon, while her husband tackles other errands in the swarming shopping complex. She has the same face from her days growing up in the neighborhood, but her aura spells tired Mom. One son, about four or so, spots a furry blonde dog in a mermaid costume. “Mommy, Mommy! Come look!” She comes up to the dog’s owner, who happens to be her old high school classmate. She gushes over the woman, telling her she hasn’t changed a bit since their school girl days together 15 years ago. She’s been following her career on social media, and she tells her how proud she is of her. She introduces her classmate to her young boys, saying, “These are my my animals.” Her youngest smiles his warm hello, and gets a few gentle pets of the little mermaid. Her oldest waves politely, but urges his mom to leave the store. She tiredly walks them out, not before telling her classmate that she’s so proud of everything she’s accomplished.
She waves at her old classmate, and looks down at the puppy mermaid. Although she’s worked hard for her accomplishments, she looks on at the children and her classmate leaving Petco, wishing she could take off the appreciative smile for once. To let her classmate know that she’d do just about anything to have a little one traipsing behind her as well. That she could also have the tired Mom aura that she noticed her friends have in person, and the blissful “everything is wonderful” look of all of their photos on Instagram. That there was a “we” she could refer to in her own life. Would it ever happen for her? She checked off all the boxes. She excelled beyond the classroom, slicing down every goal that led her to a dream career. Yet she’s still not been loved enough to not be left behind. As her friend leaves the store with her young family in tow, feeling “not good enough,” she’s flushed that her family day out is only comprised of a Halloween contest for her dog. Sad that her old friend has this superwoman ideal of her in mind, while she felt anything but. She wishes she could tell her old friend, I hurt the way you do. But her accomplishments are buoying the dreams of those who know her — she’s humbled by the very thought that she can inspire others. Weeks later, she listens to a woman who literally has it all, speaking about her struggle to find love. They barely speak more than a quick hi and bye at the salon, but as the woman shares her stories with her clients one chair over from week to week, she listens and knows she’s not alone.
A beautiful woman who made her way up the ranks from Uzbekistan to owning a top New York City salon, is very open with her clients since her divorce. Blonde, strong, fit and powerful, her confidence teems throughout the house that she built, but she’s alone. A client asks about her long distance relationship, and she shares that it’s great, before also sharing that a few issues have been coming up. He tells her that she’s a beautiful woman, but she comments on her age, and the expectations of men, and how she’s finding it so much harder to find a guy who will just love her. Her client shares that he just recently found a partner, well into his fifties, and that the wait can definitely be worth it. He spends weekends with his partner in the park, makes sure to simply ask how she’s feeling, and even confesses to conceding in an argument or two. Although her client feels it’s absolutely a no brainer that she’ll find love, the cloak of doubt and insecurities sets in. She’d trade places with the young girl next to her, who looks down at a dog in a mermaid costume on her phone.
The three women in stages retreat to their own silos, not knowing for one minute that they long for each other’s achievements and perceived happiness. That they’ve affected each other so deeply. But through their accomplishments — whether raising children, building a business or a successful career — it’s a must to hold onto their dreams, that may or not be on the other side of their emptiness. They have to keep going, and they silently need each other to do it.