Monday, July 23, 2012

Mirror Envy

(This is another piece from my now-defunct essay blog.)
I can imagine her in her boudoir, the doors closed behind her. After playing the part of a woman of the world, she’s at home in her own private space. Somehow, I can see her in front of her mirror, with a small pool of water in the vanity sink in front of her. A wall lamp with a single light bulb hovers over her head like a cartoon idea – with a horizontal bent. I have horizontal ideas of my own when I think of her. But right now, I picture her blushing under her blush, eyes peering like lasers between exotically painted eyelids and accentuated lashes.
Then she starts wiping her face with a small, moistened towel. She presses against her skin with a little force here and there, as if she may need something stronger. She breathes gently but haltingly as she cuts through the red and lavender streaks, and the smooth, dull tones of her concealer fall away slowly. A lock of hair escapes from the bun of loose tresses pinned atop her head like a crown. She nonchalantly blows it aside as she continues staring into the mirror and rubs her face with another washtowel. This one is anointed with an oil or cream that the drugstore sells, but I’ll be darned if I could find it. Her face looks glazed; her eyes look only slightly less so.
As she tosses the soiled towels aside, she turns on the water and opens the drain. There’s a chill in the air; goosebumps form on the back of her neck where a few stray hairs curl and tickle. Her face is soon covered with a soapy lather as she spreads it with her fingers across her cheeks, her forehead, and her chin. Her lips – no longer a lusty red – open slightly as she washes off what remains. The color is all gone, washed away like chalk drawings. After a rinse and a final rub or two, her face is as plain as the faded spaghetti-strap top she’s wearing.
She looks at her reflection and studies the newly visible lines and blemishes on her face, the same face I either kissed one night or imagined kissing another night. Does she realize how beautiful she looks now? As she gently strokes her cheek with her fingertips, she stares into the mirror yet again with eyes the same color as her complexion . . ..
Still staring in the mirror, she undoes her black hair. She tosses it slightly with a soft nod of her head as it falls.  She smiles . . ..  
I’m jealous of her mirror.

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