until one day it isn’t there. Not chipped, not broken. Just a blank space on your fingernub.
Your manicurist wrinkles her nose. Just ignore it, you tell her. Any color is fine.
You weren’t hoping for the yellow she finally gives you. You are not one to make a statement or stand out.
Later that night, your back goes flamey with hives. You’ve been meaning to get to what’s causing them. Potato chips, maybe. Or maybe, your lover, Hank.
Your lover, Hank, has been showing up less and less. Your mouth tells him you understand whenever he finally calls.
You fall asleep, potato chip crumbs on your chest. You were testing to see if they were the cause, and they aren’t. Your hives are gone and also two more fingernails.
You think about calling Hank. Really make him listen. Tell him that your heart is a flower that needs to be watered.
You return to the nail salon. Would Hank even listen to you with naked fingers? You can always buy a backscratcher, you tell yourself. And you tell the manicurist, the one who wrinkled her nose, that you want all of your fingers painted bright screaming scarlet.
When she says she can’t polish fingernails that she can’t see, you tell her that it would be a good thing for her to learn to see what isn’t there.