29 September 2018 – The day before

I’m at the nail place, the crappy one I swear I’ll never go to again but here I am.

I tell her I don’t want any colour, that I’m going to hospital. I just want her to get rid of the SNS and cut the nails short enough so I have nothing to chew. Not even a loose cuticle.

She’s little; a little Vietnamese nail girl who probably has a science degree. I expect her to ask me why I’m going to hospital. They have no filters mostly. But I think it’s the married ones with kids who ask the most. Instead she asks, “when you go to hospital?”

“Tomorrow,” I say, and give some sort of benign smile.

She’s wearing these blue and gold earrings. They look cheap, like all that yellow gold jewellery you see in Vietnamese jewellery stores in Footscray look cheap but are probably expensive. They dangle gently, the blue inside the gold circle, like Saturn surrounded by a ring.

She’s dremelling my nails. But I’m lulled by the smell of nail lacquer, all the glues, and I close my eyes while she scrapes and shapes. I’m getting a pedi too. Because I don’t want to be barefoot in the hospital with crappy dry feet that look like I work on a farm,

I don’t think of anything. No, that’s not true. I think about how I’m going to hospital tomorrow, abandoning everything. Everyone. I think about how I can’t believe it’s come to this.

I open my eyes and she’s watching me, massaging my hands with cheap pink moisturiser.

“Tomorrow,” she repeats, not like it’s a question, and rubs my hands as though she’s saying, “you can count on me to make you pretty.”