The Price Of Painted Toenails | Teen Ink

The Price Of Painted Toenails MAG

April 20, 2012
i_am_so_very_large_and_towering SILVER, Mililani, Hawaii
5 articles 1 photo 114 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"

The paint on my toenails was chipping today. Pieces of green and orange fluttered to the floor where the wooden boards swallowed them up, remembering my stiff waddle when I first painted them. Remembering my sandals the next day, so that everyone could see how happy I was to have perfect toenails, that – God forbid – didn't even have a crack in them.

Until they did.

The tiny lines would bury in the paint, despite the many coats of paint I applied, how many times I told my toes I love you, don't go, I could never replace you with that acid green in my bedroom cabinet because it's too clumpy and hard. I wondered why my toes wouldn't listen.

You liked the cracks. “Leave them,” you said. And you laughed with that laugh that made us tower above the small flat world so we could avoid the breaks in the sidewalk and count the stars with our smiles.

Your laugh was the summer when Tuesday became Sunday, and Friday was Wednesday, and I ate the same number of Cheerios each morning. It was the summer when we held hands and I learned to hate tomatoes and never removed the nail polish, not once.

I saw you today at the restaurant where you told me that the only thing that scared you more than death was tomorrow. You were smiling at someone who used to be me. Used to hate tomatoes and lose track of time. Used to. I bet the paint on her toenails was flawless.

You were there and I was here and we were separated by an entire round world of smiles and breaks in the sidewalk.

My toenails were bare today. I tried to laugh and convince myself that they looked better that way. And you know what? They almost did.

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This article has 19 comments.

on May. 25 2015 at 10:21 pm
CarolineCott BRONZE, Greensboro, North Carolina
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments
I just really hope you read this because I should have written this a long time ago, but now I'm sitting here on my laptop as a soon-to-be- freshman in college with nothing better to do, so I think you should know. :) When I was a sophomore, my creative writing teacher was out for a long time and my whole class was annoyed that we had a long-term sub who did nothing but hand out Teen Ink magazines everyday. I was, too, until one day in class when I came across this article. Because I was going through a breakup and had never in my life read something that I could relate to so much, I actually became madly obsessed with this piece of work. I ripped it out of the magazine, folded it up, and took it with me. And whenever I was bored in class I would sit and rewrite it over and over again in my journal. It was, like, the best thing that had ever happened to me. See, when I'm emotionally broken, I have to get my feelings out. Like many of us on this website, I do that by writing. But I couldn't write anything that would put my feelings into words better than this did. So all I could do was sit there and read it and, when that wasn't enough, copy it word-for-word over and over. "The Price of Painted Toenails". I will never forget that title. I remember bringing the folded up article to dance and making everyone read it during our break. "Isn't it amazing???" Everyone thought it was great but I don't think they fully understood my overwhelming obsession. But anyone going through this would understand. You put my emotions into words better than I ever could and you had no idea I existed. It amazed me. Whenever I broke down I'd take out this folded up article, eventually covered in wrinkles and tears, and it would make me feel content. I just think you deserve to know that your piece had such an impact on me. This is nearly three years later and I've honestly thought about it ever since. I even think that this one piece of yours has had a great impact on my writing style and really inspired me to grow as a writer. They say "write what you want to read", so thank you so much for showing me exactly what I want to read AND write. You are very, very talented!

on Apr. 27 2015 at 8:32 pm
RationalIdealist BRONZE, Orinda, California
3 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
― Mark Twain

"You liked the cracks. 'Leave them,' you said. And you laughed with that laugh that made us tower above the small flat world so we could avoid the breaks in the sidewalk and count the stars with our smiles." This. Just...this. It's beautiful and it's gorgeous and it's poetic but it's more than all those things.

g_yargo BRONZE said...
on Apr. 24 2015 at 4:27 pm
g_yargo BRONZE, Campbell, Ohio
4 articles 0 photos 4 comments
so beautiful

on Jan. 8 2014 at 1:35 pm
Bethany_Saint GOLD, Dexter, Maine
14 articles 0 photos 90 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never regret something that once made you smile." - Amber Deckers

"Stories are more than just images. As you continue in the tale, you get to know the characters, motivations and conflicts that make up the core of the story...." - Livia Blackburne

Lovely... absolutely lovely... extreamely poetic! Maybe you could read my story sometime and give me some advice!

Jea.Lively said...
on Nov. 12 2013 at 11:48 pm
Jea.Lively, Sacramento, California
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.

Please never stop writing :) i loveeddd this!

on Apr. 18 2013 at 7:53 pm
Cburns658 SILVER, Tewksbury, Massachusetts
6 articles 0 photos 4 comments
Great symbolism!!! :)

on Feb. 2 2013 at 2:30 am
CoffeeandCuts BRONZE, Banks, Oregon
3 articles 0 photos 6 comments
I fell in love with this piece. I can't even find the words to describe why. It's wonderful. Keep it up. xoxo

on Jan. 5 2013 at 11:01 pm
In_Love_with_Writing GOLD, Easton, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 389 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13

That was really sweet :) Comment on some of my stories?

on Dec. 22 2012 at 2:31 pm
TaylorWintry DIAMOND, Carrollton, Texas
72 articles 0 photos 860 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." - Unknown

Wow, this is really amazing. This is a phenomenal piece! I'm very impressed. Your story is very poetic and you can almost interpret it any way you want to. Great job!!

on Dec. 6 2012 at 3:25 am
kianacaranto BRONZE, Mililani, Hawaii
1 article 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us." -Charles Bukowski

this beautiful writer is my best friend in the whole world so ha ha ha, your writing is great risa

on Oct. 26 2012 at 1:47 pm
Lovemelovemenot BRONZE, Sparks, Nevada
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones who do.

I'm usually one of those people who you can't get to shut up. This left me speechless. That just shows how amazing you are, please write more and never change you brilliant person you!!!

KatsK DIAMOND said...
on Sep. 8 2012 at 11:38 pm
KatsK DIAMOND, Saint Paul, Minnesota
57 articles 0 photos 301 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind.
~Hans Hofmann
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

Yet again, wow. This gave me goosebumps. It's great. Reading this made me want to write. Thanks for igniting the spark again.

on Sep. 8 2012 at 7:36 pm
Rebekah_Cruz BRONZE, Clarksville, Tennessee
1 article 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I'm not a smart-alec... I just know more than you."
"You can tell a lot about a person by the way tey eat their jelly beans."

Wow. That was amazing. I didn't relaize exactly what was going on until the end, but then...Wow. Blew my frickin mind. Keep on writing.

on Sep. 8 2012 at 10:42 am
cuckoo_for_cocoa_puffs SILVER, Superior, Colorado
5 articles 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We are not Africans because we are born in Africa; we are Africans because Africa is born in us"- Chester Higgins Jr.

Wow. I really like this. It's just so real I can't help but relate. It's not a Edward-and-Bella-Forbidden-Romance sort of nonsense, that's comepletly alien. it's kinda how I think. the best kind of writing is where a reader can connect and relate. Good job!

on Sep. 8 2012 at 12:04 am
i_am_so_very_large_and_towering SILVER, Mililani, Hawaii
5 articles 1 photo 114 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"

oh my goodness thank you so much! you don't know how much your comment means to me:) 

Queena SILVER said...
on Sep. 7 2012 at 11:11 am
Queena SILVER, East Hanover, New Jersey
5 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon."

...I have absolutley no words for this peice. I can tell you that I am crying right now. You just wrote my thoughts in a way that I would never be able to say them... This is my favorite peice I have ever read on this website. It''s amazing! I'm breathless right now. The minute I finish writing this I am going back and reading it again. This is're amazing... PLEASE write more. The world deserves to hear what you have to say.

on May. 8 2012 at 6:51 pm
awesomeaugust GOLD, Boston, Massachusetts
10 articles 0 photos 176 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground"
~Theordore Roosevelt

so. good.

I love your style!

Annette11 GOLD said...
on May. 2 2012 at 8:13 pm
Annette11 GOLD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
11 articles 24 photos 18 comments
great story i loved it!

on Apr. 24 2012 at 9:26 am
_ella_herondale BRONZE, San Diego, California
4 articles 2 photos 222 comments

Favorite Quote:
"...If the Thames that ran beside them...recalled a night where the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on the same boy and girl... and thought to themselves, 'at last, the wheel comes full circle,' they kept their silence."

I like this a lot. I think I understand what youre saying, but I'd love see an explanation. 5/5 stars!! Goooood job!!!!