The young girl at the counter of Susan’s Nail Bar looks surprised, startled even, to see Laura walk through the door, bell tinkling as she does so. A glance around the salon reveals five empty stations. MTV plays on the large flatscreen TV at the end.
‘Hello, I’d like to make an appointment please,’ says Laura, flashing a large, disarming smile.
The girl’s large hooped earrings swing as she says ‘oh my days’ and picks up the phone. She presses a button on the handset and after a few seconds, tells whoever is on the other end that ‘there’s someone here. No, not a punter. Well, yes, a punter, but she wants her nails done… but… I don’t know… fine.’
She puts down the phone.
‘Let’s see if we can book you in,’ she says as she bends down and from under the counter pulls out a large A3 ledger, opening it up to today’s date. A vast blank page stares back at them both.
‘I’m afraid we can’t fit you in today.’
Laura starts to laugh, but the girl, who surely should be in school, looks serious.
‘Oh, right,’ says Laura. Laura is an optimistic soul, prepared to believe there are unseen reasons for people’s behaviour, constantly searching for the best in others. So, when staring at the empty ledger and the five empty seats in the salon, she respects the young girl’s assertion that they can’t fit her in. She must be missing something. ‘Well, that’s fine. How about tomorrow?’
Laura peers over the counter, expecting the girl to turn the page to tomorrow’s date, but she closes the book and returns it to the shelf below the till.
‘Yes, come back tomorrow. I won’t be here tomorrow, but someone will. Try then.’
‘What time would be best?’
‘Oh, any time, there’s always someone here.’
Laura, more confused than ever, thanks the girl and walks out of the salon. As she does so, she feels compelled to return inside to ask why she can’t be seen now, but when she re-enters, the girl is gone. Against her better judgement, more out of curiosity than any expectation of getting her nails done, she vows to return tomorrow.
And so shall we. No idea where this is heading, but that’s half the fun 🙂