Day 3. I ask myself, what the hez-ell have I gotten myself into? Then I tell myself, hey, you can quit anytime. Flush with that promise of emancipation, I face another day.
I tried my hand at YA. If you read below, you’ll understand why I do not consider YA my go-to genre to write.
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Every morning at 8:55 the girls would gather in the backroom to draw a name tag out of a cloudy old fish bowl. “Heather” was a favorite among the youngest technicians. The older women preferred “Esther” or “Ruth,” even though they’d never read the Bible and had no idea about the historical significance of their favorite names. By 8:58, they’d all have their names for the day affixed to their yellow shirts. When An, the stooped-back owner who’d been doing nails for over three decades, flipped the OPEN sign, the girls were ready to greet the pairs of hands and feet they’d spend the next forty-five minutes scrubbing and polishing.
Qui and Co^ng always picked their names last. They didn’t care who they were for the day. Leslie. Helen. Amy. Beth. What did they care? Hardly anyone ever asked them their names anyway, and if asked, they just smiled and pointed to whatever was written on the plastic square. It wasn’t the day-time hours that mattered.
The other girls knew. They could tell by the way Qui and Co^ng did each other nails during the down time– how they massaged the lotion in soft, circular motions. How they took extra care to keep the excess polish off each other’s skin. They took their lunch breaks together, preferring to walk down to the circular park at the end of the road with a bag of crisps to share and a single can of Coke. Everyone at the Top Nail shop pretended the girls were close just because of what happened back home. Even An who was given to grumpy fits where she was likely to come up behind any of the girls and sneer in their ears just as their hands were in mid-air, polish about to drip on some customer’s fingernail. It was good that they’d found each other here. Everyone agreed because everyone thought they understood.