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The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes

Nail Art
• Michelle D'costa
We either hide from ourselves or from others. Kanav hid from himself as well as the world. His left hand’s small finger was very different from the rest of his nine fingers.

It was slender in comparison to the stocky fingers. (Thanks to a finger-reconstruction surgery)
It was hairless.( Thanks to waxing)
It had nail art - Daisies on red background.
It had a sleek ring around its waist which gave it a look of a beautiful maiden belly dancing or hula- hooping.

He hid its beauty from prying eyes with a crepe bandage.

Whenever questioned about it he would reply ‘It’s burnt or It’s disfigured.’ He hated to degrade it in front of others but what else could he do?

The excuses blurred after some time, questions stopped and the odd ‘wrapped-up’ finger merged with his identity.

Just like one would accept spectacles or braces after sometime, the world left him alone.

At the age of twelve, Kanav noticed how ugly his fingers were. He decided to beautify at least one of it. The one that would have the least impact on people’s observation of his fingers yet keep him satisfied.

He found his Mom’s eyebrow tweezers lying abandoned on her bed and felt drawn to it like a nail to a magnet.

He plucked at the little sprout of hair on his finger. He only discovered waxing years later. He knew that if he used his Dad’s razor, the hair would have disappeared but also reappeared quickly, he had heard his Mom saying that once.

He sat intently beside his Mom whenever she filed her nails and applied nail polish on them. He was in love with the scent of the nail polish. He sat hours with the open bottle in his fingers and when he was later questioned regarding the dried- up nail polish in the bottle, he would feign ignorance.

He eventually learnt nail art from Sheila, their neighbor who loved to teach him different designs using his little finger nails as her canvas. He found a sleek silver ring with black spots on its body that would look awesome on his finger, he knew.

He tried putting it on but it only fit half way. He imagined it settled beautifully on his finger’s waist(just above the knuckle). Gleaming.

He had to do something about the broadness of his finger. He approached a boy in his class(Mohan) whose Dad was a plastic surgeon. His Dad was known for conducting pro- bono surgeries only if he wished so.

Kanav offered to do anything for Mohan in exchange of a finger reconstruction surgery.

Mohan at that time was only beginning to explore his own sexuality so he used Kanav as his threshold to adolescence.

Kanav didn’t regret anything he did with Mohan as the surgery had completed him.

The surgery was a form of reincarnation for his finger. He named it ‘Kiara’.

He himself would have liked to be called Kiara if he had been a girl.

Whenever he could spend some private time with Kiara he unwrapped her so delicately like one would undress a lover. His heartbeat would race as the bandage would unfold and reveal a glint of the ring around her waist. He then would move the ring up and down slightly until she felt slightly ticklish and squirmed.

When he painted his finger nail he would imagine it as her face. He would carefully apply the eye shadow, eyeliner, rouge, compact, lip gloss..

Someone knocked the door.

The nail polish bottle slipped from his hand, it drenched the bandage that was by his knee.

The door opened and Kiara was exposed. Nude.

He couldn’t bear the humiliation of Kiara being seen naked like this. Not when he had carefully kept her away from the world for all this time.

He reached out for the knife that was in the fruit bowl and chopped Kiara at the waist.

The ring rolled on the table for sometime but eventually came to a halt.

So did his Mom’s voice in his head from when he was only a child, ‘No one will know you’re a boy, Kiara. Be my daughter for some time. At least until Papa returns. You like the pink outfit don’t you? Pink little socks, pink little clips on your tiny pony tail….’

© Costa Michelle D'Costa August 2013

Bio: Michelle D'costa loves literature. Nothing more nothing less
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