Photo taken by: Agatha Maruyama 

On February 26, 2018, I painted my nails red, for the first time in my life.

When I was about 4 years old, I remember getting the young leaves of the tree Teak which grew near our house. I would crush the leaves and rub the sap on my fingernails. My nails would turn rust-red.

I had always wanted to paint my nails. However, I grew up in a big family and even at a young age, I was obliged to do household tasks such as washing the dishes, scrubbing the sink, and scrubbing the pans with ashes and sand to remove the soot. In short, even at a tender age, my fingers and palms were already battered with hard work.

When I got a little older, going on eight, I was required to do the laundry. I had to wash my clothes, my two brothers’ clothes, and the clothes of  my oldest brother’s first baby.  (I have three older brothers and one younger brother.)There were no disposable diapers back then, so white clothes were used as diapers. My little fingers would often bleed because the detergent bar was too harsh for my young skin and I had to wash and rub the cloth extra hard to get rid of the stains.

And so my dream of painting my nails was never fulfilled…until that day, February 26, 2018,  when I just decided on the spur of the moment to buy several bottles of nail polish. 

After paying for the items, I excitedly went back home and started cleaning and painting my nails red. Oh, my fingernails looked pretty…in my opinion. I could not take my eyes off them.  My childhood dream of painting my nails red was finally fulfilled—at my middle age. My hands and fingers were not, are not, and will never be beautiful enough to endorse nail polishes, but anyway, I am happy that I can wear nail polish now.

I still scrub pans and sinks but hey… I manage my own life now. Sure, my nail polish gets chipped off every time I do house chores too much, but this doesn’t matter to me at all. I can always clean my nails and polish them again.

Photo taken by: Agatha Maruyama 

Photo taken by: Agatha Maruyama 

Photo taken by: Agatha Maruyama 


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