Gel Polish

by LB Nye

Claudia said she couldn’t take me, but here she was moving other people around so she could take me right away.  A manicure emergency.

An emergency ‘cause the funeral is in a couple of hours and I’m not gonna bury my mother with chipped nails.  Gel polish ‘cause death gets the good nails. 

Claudia tore in with the cuticle clippers and the files. Nobody ever said Claudia was gentle.  Nails come out good, though.  She says, “Don’t flinch, I got sharp implements here.”  I say, “You’re gonna draw blood.”

Acetone smells like my first manicure, hanging with Mom and my aunts.  Makes you feel like a grown up, walking around with those perfect nails.  Base coat and top coat.  Perfect, Claudia got the skills.  Then the color.  Red, red, red, the color of Chianti.  And rub ‘em down.  Mom likes the pale colors, pinks and such.  But she doesn’t have an opinion, anymore. 

So, the thing you do is, after Claudia is all done, is you set your fingers under UV light, a minute, maybe two.  Two if you want it to really last.  There’s some chemistry in there, free radicals set off by the UV wavelengths, bonding up, hard as crystal.  So, I sit still; the radicals get to be free.    

I tip Claudia good and she taps the back of my hand, “hang in there.”

Nicest she’s ever been to me.

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