I was supposed to go spend five dollars in an office supply store today--instead I spent ten on the hands of the Korean man who either owns or just works in the nail salon on the corner.
I have come to discover that there is no object I want as much as I want the ten minutes of bliss I get from this slightly grubby but earnest man with the hands of gold.
Since becoming a mom, or maybe since becoming a mom of three, my only desires are time and escape. Time to escape.
I love my children--but I suspect I love thinking about them more than I love being with them. Can that be true? I love the anticipation of seeing them in the minutes before I walk in more than I love the reality of being with them in the minutes after. It’s almost too awful to admit and I know it’s not always true but I know it’s partly true because there’s almost nothing I love more than spying them from a distance. From a distance--the bench in the playground for example--I can see that they are tiny adorable creatures. I can see their fuzziness--their squidginess, their gestures, their true size.
Like when a roommate in college borrows a dress you’re not wild about and you catch a glimpse of it in the haze of booze and dim at the frat house and realize how awesome it is, or when a boyfriend becomes dazzlingly appealing only after you’ve let him go. Ten minutes with my children and I can’t see them anymore. They become huge, adult-sized personalities with adult-sized mood swings and adult-sized issues. When I’m with them they weigh as much as I do.
So once or twice a week, for ten dollars for ten minutes, I escape to the silly upright chair at the Charming nail salon on the corner (it’s not charming--that’s just it’s name). My face pressed into a paper towel-covered donut, the smell of acetone, the sounds of the five o’clock news. My eyes closed because when I open them I end up studying the white socks and black plastic sandals of my magic man and it distracts me.
There’s some embarrassment in the moment the whole thing is over, when I have to open my eyes directly onto a room full of women who have nowhere to look so they look at the newest thing in the room which is my raising-up head. I blink at them, at the fluorescence, at the reality of the face of the man, the sweet grubby man, who only moments before I was slightly in love with--as I fall a little bit in love with all of the people who help make living in this body a little more tolerable--the Jewish lady on Orchard Street who fits me for bras, the hispanic girl at the other nail salon who rubs her thumbs deep into the palm of my hands, and this sweet Korean guy pounding my back--pressing out the knots--pushing thumbs into the parts that allow me to truly escape, for ten minutes, and go gaga over my kids in my mind, and fall in love with my life all over again.
7 years ago