“It so good to see you at last, Tracey enthused as she welcomed me into her room. You made it!” She wasn’t wrong. Three cancellations I’d made in three months but here I was finally in the chair, feet up.
We would no longer meet for those quick catch ups I realised as she bought out her huge needles and said it would be a bit like a bee sting. Some huge bee she must’ve been stung by I thought as I clutched the chair arms and held on tight. “Well this is the hardest bit, she admitted. You won’t feel a thing when I cut them off.” She lied again.
She asked how I was feeling. “Like a vodka” I said. She thought that was funny but I was serious and wondered why I hadn’t thought of that earlier. “You were avoiding me” she said peering up. “No!” I laughed when I told her the first cancellation was because our eighth grandchild was born, and I just had to be there. Then I cried when I told her the second cancellation was because Mum passed away. Then she stared in disbelief when I told her the third cancellation was because the earth shook and the wind blew as we traversed the Island though an earthquake AND a cyclone on our trip to Wellington, so we stayed an extra night in Taupo.
“I thought you were just scared.” “No I said, but if I’d known it was this blimmin painful that might have been the case”.
“Oh most people don’t feel a thing” she assured me, which was somehow not reassuring at all.
I stared up at the ceiling as she made idle chatter then I said “I think it’s better if I talk, I don’t feel it so much if I’m doing the talking.” She laughed and conceded. After all the customers always right.
“There, she leaned back after wrapping massive bandages around each big toe. They’ll heal nicely. I can open the door now seeing as you’ve stopped screaming, she said smiling, It’s getting hot in here”.
“So I don’t need to see you again?”
“Nope, she said. I know…it’s hard, we’ve shared so much”. She met my dog on the back of the truck on one visit and her dog bit me at the next. Shes moved offices four times and each time my damn toenails decided to grow crazy I’d be searching for her in desperation. She knew the names of all my kids. I knew more than I needed to about her partner. We were practically mates … or were we?
It’s funny how seeing someone like a hairdresser or podiatrist on a regular basis you start to share like friends and pick up where you last left off. “We’re not friends at all are we?”
“Nope. But here’s my after hours number if you need me…”