Monday, November 23, 2015

Words for... well, when I damn well need them!

I spaced last Wednesday about "Words for Wednesday" and I didn't have time to write this weekend either so ya know what? I'm going to do it now!

The prompts I am using today are from Delores at Under the Porch Light and her "Thursday Trauma" prompt post.

The words are:




I did not include the rhyming ones as these two were more than enough for me at the moment. And... I may change "beasts" to "breasts" but we'll see :)


Gratuity Only

Petite hands kneaded and caressed Therese's hairy calves as warm water bubbled and swirled below in the small tub portion of the pedicure chair. Tiny LED lights tinted the water blue, then pink, then blue again, reminding her of "Sleeping Beauty's" fairy godmothers and their frivolous battle over the color of Aurora's gown.

Her pedicurist spoke in fast paced language Therese couldn't understand or classify. Korean? Vietnamese? Thai? It didn't matter. The dark haired woman was hoarse from her impatient barrage of gossip volleyed all day long with her compatriots. Therese hoped it was the gossip, not a cold or flu virus.

She had become more aware of everyday colds and the all too common flu these past six months. The day she gave birth wreaked many changes in her life, becoming overly aware of the symptoms of strangers was just one of her new traits and not nearly her least favorable. Her once virginal white and smooth belly had become a network of bright pink stretch marks and was currently the consistency of yeast dough risen, ready to be beaten down with powdered fists.

Therese sighed. The oil and sugar crystals on her legs were soothing and just irritating enough to be therapeutic. Scents of orange blossom and jasmine wafted to her nostrils and she slumped deeper in the massaging chair, tears of relief springing to her eyes as the rollers dug hard into her knotted shoulders.

Motherhood wasn't what she had expected. It was more difficult than she had ever imagined. Coming to a nail salon and being pawed at in a professional sense for 20 minutes suddenly felt like a FEMA tent to a disaster victim. She understood the emotion now in those pictures of flood victims being hauled up to helicopters by the Coast Guard, the grotesque relief and gratitude on their faces beyond the grief and shock.

Therese wasn't sobbing her gourd off but her quiet tears pooled at the edges of her eyes as her legs were rubbed with hot towels and she thought of the illusions of motherhood she once held. Cloudless skies and giggling, frolicking children in matching pants and stain-free shirts. Volunteering as chaperon on the annual elementary school trip to a local creamery, name tags and packed lunches all perfectly legible and neatly folded.

A small part of her held out how that the day would come but considering the dept of her disillusionment so far, she doubted it. There were no neatly piled stacks of diapers or racks of neatly hung baby clothes. Her daughter was rarely in a coherent outfit and the body suits she did wear could never be folded in a uniform matter, much like a fitted sheet, perpetually frustrating Therese's organizational impulses and wrinkling.

If her daughter was a passable disaster, Therese was arguably a post-Godzilla Tokyo. Her breasts were lumpy, leaking beasts that ached when overfull and shot breast milk three feet in every direction at a moment's notice. In addition to her "bowl full of jelly" belly, her hair was falling out in clots and her nails had grown to troll length, she had no idea when she had last trimmed them. Her efficient self care routine was long ago obliterated and she had deserted even the feeblest attempt at picking up the pieces.

Her husband had not quite given up so easily. He had been the one to send her here; hairy legs, bright pink and navy blue yoga pants, leather clogs, his baggy camo hooded sweatshirt and all. She had breeched the entrance like an adolescent catapulting into the local gas station shoppette, hot off a skateboard and lawn mowing gig that yielded ten dollars and grass stained high tops. She was a wreck, and she just didn't care; but she had fifty dollars, gnarled nails and fuzzy eyebrows and no baby, Mii Mii Nails was a paradise.

Therese lie in the grinding mechanical chair with her eyes lightly closed and reflected on her junky appearance and groaned as the technician applied the sparkling violet polish. No one ever said parenthood was really about feeling like a huge failure over and over. Her tears welled, the weight in her chest throbbed into a boulder and unuttered sobs knotted into a ball in her throat and she felt like the hot tears slide down her face.

As she silently cried for a moment the hubbub of the salon seemed to fade and she sighed a heavy sigh, feeling the lump in her throat and weight in her chest release just a little, just enough to feel like she got something off her chest.

She smirked, thinking how this place was mostly about putting something on; lacquer, length, sparkle, but the taking off was less vaunted; the fees hidden away in small print for removing old polish or wresting stubborn hairs from faces, and no fee for "get something off your chest." No fee for what you really need.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Linda, and thanks for reading :)

  2. You are awesome.
    You massage the words into a meaningful reality each week. Take a bow. Several bows. Susan Kane from thecontemplativecat will be putting up some more prompts tomorrow. Hint, hint...


Thank you for reading and commenting!

Be well, HBF