Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Mother's make-up

I can clearly recall a time, in which, at a young age, I was fascinated by the beautiful. Perfume bottles, were especially intriguing and enchanting. Each one a small story, a diminutive yet powerful vial of a scent that would lead to a moment in time. Every lone bottle seemed as though some apocathary had lived his entire life just to create this one scent that would envelop an entire being, narrate an essence of beauty that fit you and only you. Different shapes and sizes, whispered tales of intrigue, seducing me to try. Lipsticks were just as interesting to me. I used to wonder why, my mother, never wore any.

Speaking of my mother, I am swiftly reminded of the first time she put make-up on me. I was in elementary school. I used to watch her get ready every morning, as she took attentive care to each move she made while seated at our kitchen table. I munched on Kix as she applied and manipulated how she wanted the world to see her. Her tools lay open before her, ready for use. By night they slept in the tiered, pink plastic box that housed them, yet when morning crept in, they were freed from the kitchen drawer and put to work. A towel would set the stage, and then she’d thumb through her supplies, picking out what she needed, preparing order. She had more than she’d use for some reason, as though it were an unwritten rule. She would only use half of her supply, yet what would resonate more with me would be the pieces that went untouched as though they didn’t stand a chance. With the cereal of my childhood compressing into my ten year old molars with each bite, I’d stare trance like, at her idle tools, she once thought mattered. The large, yellow powder brush called to me; the chipped paint of the 6inch handle, the bristles looking dated yet still precise. I’d wonder if it knew how much space it took up. When I was feeling bold, I’d go through her make-up, my small hands, lifting, sorting, and examining. I came across one more bewitching than the yellow brush: the most beautiful pallet of eye shadow my young eyes had ever seen. A modest gray plastic held the pearlescent hue: white speckled with pinks, blues, and greens. The size of a silver dollar, I had no idea of its true intentions but I loved it still. It looked as though she had only used it five or seven times and as if weeks, perhaps even months, has passed in between uses. It was probably a Friday, when she let me pick which make-up to wear. I knew my decision. Later that day I would brag in the lunch line and close my eyes for all to see my dusted eye lids, fit for the heavens, or a long afternoon of playing in a garden-Shakespearean like.


  1. you say and write the most wonderful things ...