“D.D. Nail, can I help you?” Mya, the proprietor, is from Cambodia; while her grasp of the English language is strong, she is prone to modulate some of her words.
I watch her, phone tucked under her chin, talking, while continuing to buff my nails. She flashes me a pretty smile and releases my hand as she turns to check her appointment book.
I blow the file dust off my hand and glance around her little shop. Mya keeps a tidy place, charges a fair price, and has plenty of repeat customers… of which I am one.
Across the salon at a pedicure station, another patron, feet soaking in lavender scented water, is enjoying the kneading action of the massage chair. She is a striking woman with high cheekbones and smooth skin the color of coffee with just a drop of cream. Dressed in linen slacks and tunic and partially reclined with eyes closed, she is not aware of me admiring her classic pairing of beige and white.
At her feet is Trahn. Tiny in stature, Trahn has to maneuver carefully around her bulging belly to scrub the woman’s feet. I wince every time I look at her. The fabric of her smock strains against her skin. Surely, she should not be working this late into her pregnancy. Trahn, of Asian descent, speaks very little English but she understands enough to nod and smile at our comments. Her husband also works here; he is giving a pedicure at the station next to her. Tony is Vietnamese. He is very sociable, loves name brand clothing and gives a magnificent foot massage.
Tony's customer is Caucasian, like me. A heavy set woman in her late sixties, she is wearing Capri’s, in a shade of orange that scream for the fashion police, with an flowing white shirt that showcases her, what has to be artificial, bronze tan. Her arms are adorned with gold bracelets and charms; they jingle pleasantly as she turns the pages of her Vogue Magazine. Her hair has been dyed an astonishing platinum blond.
I should talk. My own burgundy enhanced hair, nets me compliments, but I’m not fooling anyone. There is no way this color came anywhere but from a box.
Finished with my manicure, Mya indicates I should pick a color of polish. This is the toughest part of my monthly visit. I wander back and forth at the shelves where every color of the rainbow tempts me. Should I go with the passionate purple? Or the fire engine red? Perhaps something radical like lime green or ocean blue. I hold different ones up to the sunlight streaming in through floor to ceiling windows. Red, purple, pink, all sporting fun names like, “cha-ching cherry” or “plugged-in-plum”. Mya and Tony are watching me. They know me better then I know myself, for when I finally select the subtle shade of pink known as “kiss on the chic,” Tony laughs. “Boring, boring pink,” he says. “Why you not try some other color?”
“But I like this color” I say defensively. “It goes well with everything I wear.”
“Boring, boring” Tony repeats.
“Maybe some day I will surprise you.” I respond with, what I think is, a saucy grin.
Mya turns me over to Deliah. She is from Mexico and has only been here a few weeks. My hands, wrinkled and weathered, despite the thorough drenching of lotions they just received, are pale in comparison to Deliah’s caramel skin. I watch, mesmerized by her honey kissed slender fingers as they float the brush across my nails.
Once again, I glance around the little salon. Mrs. Orange Pants is balancing precariously on a chair; her fuchsia piggies drying under the heat lamp. A redhead has wandered in. Having already picked her polish, she is clutching a little bottle in a shade of teal that make my eyes pop.
What a wonderful, colorful world we live in, I am thinking. I fleetingly remember the little box of crayons I had to make do with in grade school. Sixteen was about an opulent as we were going to get. Now, sixty-four is standard!
As I pay Mya, I take a detour over to the shelves of polish. I pluck up a bottle that had attracted me before. A bolder shade of pink than my standard, I turn it over and read the label; “Not-so-bora-boring-pink.”
I wink at Tony as I leave. “Next time.” I say.
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