The bottle of formaldehyde-free dark red nail polish, unopened since its initial purchase months ago from the Whole Foods beauty section, sat on the second shelf of the medicine cabinet and fumed in the quiet darkness.
The lady had opened the cabinet twice in the last few weeks, reaching instead for the tangerine-pink and fuchsia polishes instead. Knowing that it was best suited as a winter color, nonetheless the red polish fixated on its neglect. On other occasions, the lady opened the mirrored cabinet and doted on the shea butter from Sudan or the hand cream infused with Dead Sea mud. But never did her eyes rest on Red, who by this point, roiled over how to woo her attention
7:20pm on a Tuesday in late July.
Red Nail Polish could hear a faint twitter of laughter coming closer until the bathroom door flung open. The lady emoted and giggled something to the effect of “Wait, try this deodorant!” to her new special man friend who was clearly underprepared in dressing for the art event on this sweltering summer evening, for which they were already running 35 minutes late. Punctuality was not this woman’s forte.
As the lady’s voice neared, Red Nail Polish realized Mitchum was, again, standing a bit too close, just about resting his plastic casing against Red’s bulbous glass exterior. But instead of tolerating this proximity, Red saw its chance and leaned in to the anti-perspirant, ready for action. The cabinet door opened and the lady’s overeager, clumsy fingers grasped for Mitch, not realizing that they also grazed Red, causing the bottle to shake unsteadily. As her fingers pulled Mitch off the ledge, Red seized the moment, revved up for a spin, and catapulted off the glass ledge for a grande entrance. Or exit, rather, since the little bottle had inadvertedly set off a kamikaze suicide mission.
The lady and her special man friend watched it happen from the distance of the sink, 12 inches away. The red nail polish bottle, which the lady could have sworn she put into the refrigerator until the holiday season rang for it, swan dove out of the cabinet, suspended in mid air to raise its bottle top in a middle fingered gesture, and then nosed down for a final descent, crashing, splintering and splattering all over the newly renovated silver-toned porcelain-tiled bathroom floor. And splattering all over the gleaming white toilet. And splashing the white wall with a homage to both Jackson Pollack and Cy Twombly. And throwing up two final splats on the bathroom’s piece de resistance- the silver flaxen linen custom-made bathroom shower curtain.
Stunned, the lady and her man stood frozen, surrounded by shattered glass. Red Nail Polish, liberated from its confines, began crawling across the bathroom floor, quickly solidifying atop the walls and toilet, and nestling deep into—permanently into– Shower Curtain’s fibers.
Now the lady will see me, Red thought.
Later in the evening, the couple, accompanied by Red’s nemesis– an acetone blend named Cutex— together pored over the floor, dissolving Red over and over again into a bevy of paper towels. Hours went by and only the floor and toilet were restored. The wall would have to wait, as Red refused to let Cutex have its way.
Indeed, the lady would not ever forget Red. Nor her mistake of keeping nail polish in the medicine cabinet with a white and silver bathroom.