Fingernail scythes, scattered on the bathroom floor. She grunted. “What’s the point of clipping over the waste bin when the clippings fly everywhere?” She moved the bin back to its corner. He’d left it there by the toilet, where he sat when he trimmed his nails. He held his hands a foot above the can, and as he pared, the cuttings ricocheted just outside its lip.
For masochism’s sake, she counted the sharp crescents on the floor. One, two, three — those are small, probably two from one nail — so four, five, six, seven. She crawled around on her knees looking for more. She found one stuck to the base of the toilet. “Eight,” she said out loud. “Two of them made it into the can.”
With a broom and a sigh, she brushed the nail tips into the dust bin, then emptied it into the trash. She leaned on her broom and gazed out the window. A man was at her neighbor’s door. He wore a shirt and tie, but had left his jacket in the car. He looked at ease, like he was on lunch from his office, going home to eat with his wife.
Only her neighbor was not his wife. The neighbor poked her head out of the door and glanced quickly around the neighborhood. Betty moved sideways, against the wall, where her neighbor would be less likely to see her. She was thankful she hadn’t turned lights on.
The neighbor waved the man in, and he put his hand on her waist as he followed her through the door. Betty thought about her husband’s nail clippings. Thought about the extra care he’d taken with his wardrobe lately. Thought about the extra close shave he worked for that morning. She wondered whose wife he went to on his lunch breaks.
For the month of April, I will be publishing a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just thoughts spilling onto the page. Fiction is continuing to happen.