War Paint

Time is running out. As she darkens her eyerims with kohl, she steals a glance at the clock. Hardly any time left before the ‘dhup-dhup’ of her husband knocking on the door resounds. 

She looks at her eyes. Fluid-y, voluminous buttons. They appear larger with all the tricks she employs through the box full of cosmetics. Always playing up her eyes with deep swashes of mascara and defining them either subtly or not with the eye liner. Lining them with her favourite stick of kohl, dark, dark, darker like secrets and half- released sighs. Till she knows the depth is perfect, the tangents aligned. 
Her fingers hover over her favourite lipcolour. Nude, colourless, without any personality, almost making her appear pale and deathly if it weren’t for the slight peachy blush on her cheeks. She has others, of course. Like most women, she stores the pencilled promises of peaches, oranges, mauves, pinks and deep, rich reds. 

Today she is feeling particular brave, reckless even. She picks out the strongest, velvety red that she has. The mirror mocks her. The entire dressing table is rapt in attention. Holy shit! Will she finally? 

She looks at the woman who peeks from behind the glass curtain. The dragons who breathe fire at her, the invisible punches that life throws making apparent only the injury, never the point when the fist hits the jaw, the dreams that dismantle around her- her own children of imagination and bravado that she buries- if she can ‘handle’ all that, what’s a lipcolour? 

The first swipe of red on her lips and she doesn’t know the woman in the mirror anymore. Her heart is hammering in her  chest. With another brush stroke on her lips she has transformed. Put on another mask, removed another inhibition. For fuck’s sake, it’s just another colour on just another lipstick.


He asks, “You ready, babe?”

She is. 

She steps out of the room and shuts the door. The hall mirror winks at her. She and her image are conspirators- out to rule their world. And they don’t take any prisoners. 

After all, there are just two kind of women in the world- those who think they can and those who think they can’t carry off red lips. 

4 thoughts on “War Paint

  1. As someone who recently realised the transformative power of lip colours, I was nodding in agreement at your final paras about how your subject was just not the same after the second stroke of her red lipstick. Haha.. Some shades just transform your look entirely. It’s magical! And beautifully written!

    1. I think we put all these barriers in our minds about such ridiculous things, specifically anything that adds a cosmetic value to us: who can wear what; what colour/clothes/trends look good on what skin tone/shape/type of people. It’s disappointing.

      Thanks for stopping by and the appreciation.

      1. Oh, you’re welcome! And thanks to Debdutta, again, for recommending it.
        And yes, disregarding these barriers you speak of makes for a… Ok, that’s another story! Looking forward to reading more of your work!

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