I had on one of those pink nightgowns with one of the Disney princesses on the front. My hair was a chaotic mess of curls and tangles, partially because I hated to brush it and partially because Mom always brushed it for me before I went to bed.
Grandma had the fan whirling around in the kitchen at a medium speed, occasionally clicking when it rocked because a screw was loose somewhere.
I sat in Grandma's chair at the table, leaning back and watching out the window for headlights. My eyes felt itchy and dry and all I wanted to do was shut them for just a moment. I knew I couldn't though. I had to wait for Mom to get home.
I looked around the room, noticing the pictures of fruit all over the walls. Small ones, big ones, with the addition of fake fruit stuffed into wooden baskets for decoration. Perhaps they were appropriate for a kitchen, but I still found them odd. Why not real fruit?
The wallpaper was also beginning to pull up at certain corners. I always wanted to tug on them, curious what I would find behind them, but knew I would be scolded for doing so.
As I was waiting I decided that my nails needed a little bit of sparkle. I got out my miniature sized combo nail polishes that consisted of pastel blue, green and pink, all of them with silver sparkles.
It wasn't too long before Mom arrived back home, but back then it felt like an eternity. It wasn't too late either, probably around nine or so.
She came in with a smile on her face with her arms stretched out for me. Howard walked in cautiously behind her, a little shy, but also happy. I knew there was something special about him from an early age.
"Look Momma, I painted my nails," I squealed.
"Let me see, baby," Mom said taking my little hands.
Howard peeped over her shoulder to observe our interaction as well.
"They're very pretty," Howard said.
I looked at him proudly and exclaimed something along the lines of doing them myself and that I didn't need any help at all. He just nodded and smiled.
"Would you like me to do yours?" I asked.
Mom erupted with laughter and told me that Howard didn't paint his nails. I found this odd, but just went along with it anyway. Why wouldn't someone want sparkly nails? It just didn't make any sense.
"You know, I would like some," Howard said quietly.
Mom and I immediately looked over at him. She was saying that he didn't need to and he was saying back that it was okay, that he didn't mind one bit.
So there we sat. My tiny hands grabbing one finger at a time to paint his fingernails. Mom tried to get me to at least do clear, but we went with the blue sparkles because blue was his favorite color.
After years went by and Mom and Howard got married, I often wondered why he let me paint his nails. Was it to spend more time with Mom and get to know me? Was he trying to get brownie points?
Did he know then he would be my father?
I wished I would have asked him. I wish a lot of things nowadays.