Ingeborg is a small-town piano teacher who raises her foster daughter, Nelly, into young adulthood. When Nelly is eighteen, she is shocked by the arrival of Jenny, her mother, whom she calls "Auntie." Jenny wants to take her to the big city and teach her to be a beautician in her salon. This is devastating news for Ingeborg, who is ill and does not expect to live long. Ulf, the stolid 30ish man in love with Nelly, begs her to stay; but she is not in love with him, considering him much too old. Instead, she is attracted to Jack, a new arrival in town. She doesn’t guess that this strange young man with the striped suit and dashing mustache is her mother’s lover as well.