Evon’s Beauty Salon is more of a beauty closet than beauty salon. There is no room to move around except for the narrow space behind the four chairs set up in a row. A fifth chair sits in front of an old, but still functional free standing hair dryer with a view of the entire street. The salon, like most other businesses along the small road leading to the big mosque, are made out of metal shipping containers. Instead of a door, a plexiglass sliding pane serves as the fourth wall and also a place to hang the printed sign with the name of the place, a few images of women’s heads, and a photo menu of braiding options.
We’ve never seen the shop closed. Even on a late Sunday afternoon, I can see Evon’s feet sticking out as we turn the corner. When there are no customers, the fifth chair is hers. She sits with her legs stretched out resting her head on the back of the chair. Somehow, she always sees us coming from behind and is ready to exchange hellos as we pass. The large birthmark on her forehead perfectly positioned between her eyes steals my attention when we talk.
The first time we met her, she was sitting with another woman watching us walk up from busy Tro Tro Street. I was carrying Kojo because we had visited the Catholic church to hear the bells ring and it was getting late. She was clearly talking about us and neither of them had on friendly faces.
When we got closer I smiled and said, “Good evening.”
“You should wear him on your back like we do.” she responded.
“You’re right. Next time, I’ll bring a piece of fabric and you can show me how to tie him on.” She liked that answer and we were no longer strangers.
Evon’s chairs are usually full. Most of the time only one is paying for services, the rest are chatting, watching, or just resting. When she is working, she stands close to her customers to listen to their stories.
If we haven’t traveled to Tro Tro Street for a week or so, she asks where we’ve been. I never brought the fabric for her to show me and Kojo is a bit too big now to be carried on my back. Maybe one day, we’ll stop and sit down inside next to the hair dryer to share a secret or two. The world needs less strangers.