The Nail Salon

by Kavita

Aimless, I walked; maybe to hunt for a purpose or maybe not. I wasn’t sure why I was so sad without any grief; I couldn’t tell why I felt so light with the load of emptiness. I looked in all directions. To the east, the sun appeared to be a black hole and to the west, I saw no promise of an opportunity. Ahead, there was a road, with a flood of vehicles but they appeared still. Rolling, but still.

Unless I say them out loud, these everyday thoughts have no meaning. So I continued to walk and a few yards away on the right was ‘Nora Nail Salon’. My feet drifted and I let myself be dragged in there. And then, I heard something like my voice.

“Eyebrows” It said.

After a few minutes, I saw a face like mine in the mirror, with traced lines of hair on top of my eyes. I admired my lady’s work, and heard that voice again.

“Upper lip” It said.

The clean mustache of skin over the brown sagging flesh. Some work was done and the service person will be paid, I thought. Yet again, I heard that unfamiliar voice.

“Do you think my chin needs to be waxed?” It said.

A total of 15 minutes had passed and I walked out of that room with some society-defined face of a woman. She has shaped eyebrows, shaved upper lips and a shining chin. Whoever it was, I couldn’t tell but that voice; that voice spoke again.

“Can I get a pedicure?” It said.

The feet are soaked, rubbed, massaged; the cuticles are searched for and removed; the nails are cut, filed, polished. The soul must go through some of it, I thought. “Ouch!” Somewhere during that process, I heard a voice closer to my own; maybe because of the pain.

It lasted over 20 minutes and I sat there, under my lady’s instructions. I waited for my feet to dry and just when I thought they were done, she asked me to let them dry more. I wore closed shoes and they needed drier feet, she said. I sat there and stared at my feet. The skin was clear and smooth, the heels were soft, and the nails were deep purple.

“This isn’t me.”

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This time, I heard myself loud and clear. I got up and left. Of course, I paid; with sadness, the price of pretty feet and of a sadder me.

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