It must have been around 11 times now.
Most of those, he was the one in charge. Hands and toes. I preferred him to any other. He was quiet. The place had a clinical tenderness to it, tucked away in the underground of otherwise bleak shopping halls.
Two fancy reclining chairs, three modest tables. Classical notes to fill in the space between the clips.
On days like today it was clear that the manicuring was a slightly different one; one of mental hangnails and grown out thoughts, tired limbs and dirty pots.
This nail place was a special one. A place where one could be taken care of. A much needed excuse to gently close the eyes.
You could tell, it was like his own. The way he examined the patrons who strut into his domain. What atrocities he must have seen, I'd wonder, while praying his surviving eyes show mercy on my wide flat feet.
Today, though, I'd make him smile; a real, toothey grin. He knew that I like to visit his house; he'd always known. He liked how I trusted him enough to drift away as he applied lilac lotion through my fresh fingers. My pleasure, I like that he'd pretend to not notice.
As nails dried, it wreaked premeditation as he approached the fridge. A ritual of humble satisfaction, a half empty tupperware of soggy rice would be placed into the microwave. I imagined him the type to pace himself.
Over time, I'd relish in his sternness. His calculated way of plucking my feet out of the water and onto the towel that separates us. I'd watch his face for thoughts, for that was the only time he'd really be saying anything.
Pick your color.
Dark auburn and dusty rose, dueled at the altar of possibility,
If only there was a right answer. My eyes scolded the bottles for having no voice.