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.