Thursday, February 4, 2010

in a place of beauty, no one cares what you say

the incarnation of my pastel dreams didn't come as imagined. instead, yesterday i went with my eager grandma to the asian american beauty college and had my nails painted a pearlescent muted blue. now i just sit and stare at my hands like the passive student had while she lightly fondled them and dipped them into a cold bath of mystery chemicals. the only word she spoke the entire time was a hesitant, "good"? with a raised brow and shy smile. "yes, yes good," i assured with an exaggerated nod and an expression of acceptance that probably looked as plastered on as the mask the girl with no pants and hooker heels was wearing two stations over. as a woman who looked of importance and teacher material walked over i added a "good job" and another gilded smile. my manicurist was probably twice my age so i was afraid she thought i was patronizing her so i stopped my praise even though i did love the delicate work she had done and the imagined life story she had supplied me with. i thought of her mother's heirloom recipes, banana leaves,how different things in the good usa must seem her, and how strange she thought i looked compared to the wiry haired old women that she typically saw come in during business hours. but she didn't even let one edge of her mouth curve up when i poured out my admiration for my new glimmering wet digits. she was done with me so she packed her supplies back into her kit and handed off the basket of nail colors. i looked up and she had disappeared. gone, without a perceivable shuffle. i sat in the folding chair till my nails were slick to the touch and i got up to sit under a hair dryer next to my mousse covered grandma. "didn't she do a good job?" i questioned as i fanned them out in front of her face. "what did you say?" she shouted back.

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