Jackie’s mother used curved scissors to clip away her cuticles, just like the professional manicurists used, the slivers of skin settling in his lap, on the deep blue of his baggy Golden Horse jeans, the cuffs rolled up three times, the perfume from her armpits coming off onto the flesh of his shoulders, and then from his shoulders smeared into his pillow nightly. He’d rub his face in her smell so she was there with him even when she wasn’t.
She’d let him paint her thumbnail from time to time, his favorite because it was thick and yellow after the nail polish remover, and curved like a jungle cat’s. “Momma, you could tear someone’s face open with this,” he’d told her, holding her thumb up as if it was their secret weapon.
And once she’d even slipped her hand in under her blouse, while he was still in her lap, massaged her breasts until the nipples hardened and poked him in the back, and then she told him there was enough hate in the world and that “we beautiful people need only stay beautiful, Jackie boy.”
Insomnia of an Elderly French Designer