Shocking Pink

She grows her nails too long, long enough that the piano teacher mentions them at almost every lesson. She paints them in vivid colors, but not very well. Today she chose a shocking pink. Closeted in the downstairs bathroom she applied the varnish, a bit unevenly, then employed a Q-tip dipped in polish remover to tidy the result. It, too, is pink, and its noxious fragrant shocks me as I slide open the pocket door. Her father phones from the driveway. Dinner at his house awaits.

"But my nails! They're a mess! They're not right!"

She twists her face; do they call it a moue? Yes, I remember. I remember showing my mother just such a moue, and the sharp slap of her hand against my cheek.

I turn away, shocked by her expression and my memory, as she flounces to the door.

7 thoughts on “Shocking Pink”

  1. Wow, what a compact, powerful piece of writing. I both wish for much more explication and really admire that you’ve kept it so tiny and self-contained. Just wow.

  2. Thanks. It helped to express it this way. Apparently she gave her dad the same treatment, and instead of feeling hurt, he rationally pointed out that he had warned her well in advance about when he would be arriving, and she had chosen to do her nails only minutes before the appointed time. Wish I didn’t take these moments quite so much to heart.

  3. damn. I remember doing that with my nails and being miss smarty pants face maker. I wince. need to apologize to my mamma (who didn’t slap me)…

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