I balled my fingers when I caught her staring. Receptionist have such long, well-kept fingernails. Often, they’re French-pressed. Looking so fake and pretty and false, but they keep the handsome bosses around and the command the respect of a woman with a desk job. I placed them gently below the counter while maintaining eye contact. She blinked rapidly.
“Mrs. Carson,” she started, “I believe you’ve mistaken our phone call.” She leaned forward, rustling her papers for effect. “And I’m afraid Dr. Sanders’ schedule is quite full for some time.”
“So,” I said, “there is no way I can talk to him today?”
“I’m afraid not.”
She rapped the papers against the desk and filed them away without looking. I had no more time.
The receptionist had halfway picked up the phone and stopped short. Her eyes found me and shifted and then back to me again.
“I-I need to see Dr. Sanders. It’s urgent.”
“Mrs. Carson, I’m so sorry, but he is not available today. He had to cut emergency hours in response to the volume of patients he has now.”
Her eyes wandered again and she drummed her nails on the table. I headed for the door.
“Must be nice,” I said.
“What must be nice,” she said.
“To have nails. I eat mine,” I said.
I heard a soft “oh” as I pushed open the door, and stepped out onto the street, walking straight and hoping for an oncoming car.