Thursday, March 15, 2007

Make Up

Every morning before anybody sees me, even my husband, I put on my makeup. To keep it from him, I put it on in bed before I even get up.

The crucial part for me is also the first. The foundation. That is to first conjure an attitude of interest. And interest in what is going to happen today to me, my two children and my husband, us, interest in them, interest in life. That is the hardest part. The love and empathy. And it takes up, most of my time. Once I get that part down, the rest becomes much easier. But it's getting harder every morning.

Next, I sculpt my benign look of love. This needs special care. The look must be sincere, caring, emanate warmth. Somedays I outdo myself and even manage to sketch something that seems to facilitate sympathy from others too. I can never remember how I did it. Why is it we find it so easy to remember what went wrong but have so much difficulty remembering what we did right? And how does it turn from right to wrong?

Then, I slowly warm my body up with heat generated from the foundation I've laid. The face I've sculpted helps maintain the warmth. Gently, very gently, I feel the coldness melt away from my limbs like ice cubes in the afternoon sun. As this is happening, it is important to colour my light bluish skin into a very light shade of brown that is almost like cream caramel. He used to love it. He would call me his desert. And I would melt, like ice cream on his lips. Warm. Safe. Alive.

With the major portions done, I put on bright eyes, a pair of smiling lips, open up my ears, install a vocabulary of love, concern and empathy into my throat, slip on my bright well brushed teeth. He used to tell me what he loved about these things on the pillow with me before we slept, or when we lay on our futon by an open window on a rainy day. His mouth close to my ears, his lips sometimes tracing the edge of my ear. Now it just rains.

So I have to put on this make up everyday. No, not have to. I must. Because the make up has another important purpose too. It is to keep the blackhole in the centre of my soul, where love, kindness, compassion, empathy used to dwell, from escaping me and swallowing up everything in its path - my husband, my children, the house, our neighbourhood, the district, the country, the continent, the entire planet, until in time it will reach out into the sun and consume it. There's nothing that it will not devour with its raging relentless darkness.

That is why I must put on my make up every morning.

I must put it on to save myself, to save us all.

But sometimes. I can't help it.

It comes off.

1 comment:

Greenorchid said...

Interesting story. Needs some editing. ;) Seriously though, you can develop this. I like the metaphor, although lipstick will never be the same to me again...