Her fingernails are painted a deep red. Blood red, seduction red. She is not the kind of girl who paints her nails blood red, yet here she sits aimlessly running one of her perfectly manicured red nails around the rim of a water glass while looking away from me out the window. I have a nail fetish. She knows this but she never indulged my desires, content to keep clear polish on them if anything at all and to chew them down to the nub when thinking. I take a sip of my wine and ponder the meaning behind this. On one hand, it could be a tactical maneuver. We have tired of the lawyers and moved on to solving things between the two of us. She wants certain things. I don't want to give up certain things. Hence, the red seduction. Or, option number 2- and the option I least appreciate- is that they are for someone else.
"Your nails look nice."
Her head snaps back towards mine as her wandering finger freezes over the glass. Quickly, smoothly she sits up straighter- all business now- and pulls her hands in to clasp them in front of her hiding the blood red from my sight. Not for me then. Now it's my turn to sigh and look out the window. It's one of those days that falls in March, not quite Winter anymore but definitely not yet Spring. The fog has rolled in from the beach and I can barely make out the planes winging in from parts unknown. It was my choice to come here, to this airport hotel bar. I love airports- ever since childhood- but today the sight of people coming and going, living out of their suitcases depresses me. Uncertainty is no longer the great adventure of my youth.
She's made some barely discernible movement that distracts me from my gazing. I glance over to find her intently following the descent of a 747 flying the All'Italia colors. They are being bought out by Air France but I doubt she knows or cares. We met in Italy. Standing by the baggage carousel at Fiumicino, I remember looking around desperately for a sign that said "treno" one of the few words I'd learned in Italian prior to departure. The Study Abroad coordinator had left me with the deceptively simple instructions to board the train from Fiumicino to Termini and to look for the big group of students with the sign that would be meeting there. I clung desperately to the hope of the sign.
The 747 lands, a plume of smoke and a screech of giant brakes heralding it's arrival. I wonder if she wonders if I intentionally chose an airport. If I brought her here to this airport, to finish what we started in that airport. I didn't, but it wouldn't be a bad guess. Her phone rings and I remember the ponytailed girl she was, backpack slung over one shoulder, her left hand resting on a beat up suitcase and cursing in English under her breath. Now she is quietly speaking in Italian. "Treno" is still one of the only words I know in Italian. She became fluent. As I watch her quietly speaking into the receiver, almost hunched in an attempt to make the call as private as possible, I have an idea who those red nails are for.