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Pink Nail Polish This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Our moods changed with the color of our nails. Aquamarine was an indication of bliss. Gold of conceit, regality. Red epitomized feelings of fierceness or sexual tension. Black, an elegiac mood. When our nails were clear, free of previous pastel paint chips, we were ticked. That day our nails were pink. Pink, you see, meant that we had fallen in love. Again.

His hand was in mine. Rough at the touch, warmly intertwined with my fingers flashing pink nails. His hands with pink nails and little black hearts that I drew the night before. He smiled at me. It was a slow easy smile that started from the edge of the left half of his face before sweeping across. He squeezed my hand. I smiled. He smiled back, and the pink of our nails clicked together as fingers touched while we walk through the high school hallway.

“Queer,” it mustered. It was a guy, a jock, who had a brain that he never used. He was staring at him, Gale, my guy. My best friend. My rock. I looked at Gale, he doesn’t respond to it, he continued walking with me. We stopped at our lockers, right next to each other’s while I tried not to explode. I breathed a second and waited. I pulled open the locker, searched within for something. My Calculus book, my notebook or something. Something to take my mind off the matter. Ittoremeuptoknowthatitcouldneverhappen. We could never be.

“Why do you love him?” I asked.

The question was more of an insult than a friendly inquiry, because my nails were pink for Gale, and his nails were pink for it.

“I just do, Jenna.” He answered in that cool and collected way that made me almost think he was straight. How my legs were sore from kneeling on pews to pray that he might change. So my own selfish desires would be fulfilled. So it and the other it and the even more its wouldn’t call him queer as we walked down our high school hallway in our small Louisiana town. But that wasn’t going to happen. Gale wasn’t straight. And I’d known this for years. The prayers weren’t working. I should have given up. And I should have moved on, but for four years I had held his hand down the hallway in the manner of a bride and her father, to click our blue, green, orange, purple, red, and clear nails together in that hallway.

“I understand. Completely.” I had to understand. I was what Gale was to it. There but unappreciated. There but unnoticed.

“He’s waving me over. I’ve got to go,” he said. It always happened like that. It would beckon once the hallway cleared. It was gay too, but not enough to have pink nails. Not gay enough to leave Gale alone.

I watched Gale walked away and felt my heart break a million times over before I started to chip the pink nail polish away.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

QuestionAuthority said...
Feb. 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm:
Wow. This piece was unique, profound, and elegant. I can really say that it's like nothing I have ever read on this site before, from the plot to the incorporation of the nail polish colors to your very descriptive imagery. My only suggestion would be maybe to clear one part up, when the jock says " queer " and then Jenna says "why do you love him?" I was confused for a second, I thought that maybe Gale loved the jock and I was like, what? Because of course that makes no... (more »)
 
ajibike This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm :
Thank you so much! Actually, Gale is in love with the jock (also referred as 'it'). He's a closet gay , which I thought was clear, but apparently not. I'll try and clean it up. Thanks for your insight and I will certainly read your work.
 
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