The mirror lied. Her spirit identified as a woman half her current age, and at forty-two the vision of herself balanced between unfair and not so bad.
Her smile edged by wrinkles showed how often she laughed. Brown curly hair frizzed out beyond control, even after another product failed to save the day. Maybe her cheeks were a bit more sunken than before, the chubbiness of youth let go.
Somethings connected her to her favorite days: good sex, cigarettes during social hour, a song on the radio. When she found the song from her youth was now considered an oldie, she cried and swore aloud in her car when no one would hear.
The path she’d wandered through was sometimes dark and unforgiving. Years of wrong choices proved two lessons, care more or care less. Choose wisely.
She stood in front of the bathroom vanity, scrubbing cream into her face, and getting ready for bed. Fingertips traced the path from her cheekbone to the crow’s feet cracking their way along her skin. The lines were here to stay. Even if they lied. She wasn’t old enough to have earned these.
She went to bed and settled on her side. While thinking about tomorrow her husband’s hand crept up her spine. For the last thirteen years it had been the same, though a little less spontaneous, his touch still tender.
He kissed her shoulder. “I love you.”
“You too,” she said.
Her legs twitched under the sheets as restlessness came over her. A serenade of snoring filled the room, indicating her husband was asleep. She tiptoed her way from bed and into the bathroom to peer at herself again.
I’m not even halfway through this life.
Her make-up bag full of expensive ways to hide age sat on the vanity. She slid the zipper open and revealed a cornucopia of paint. She examined the mass of products choosing the lipstick that hid at the bottom.
Passion Pink, the color she wore on her wedding day. With puckered lips, she added the pink shimmery hue.
Ah, there you are. I’ve missed you. Come back?
The girl from before waves a distant hello. Or is it goodbye?
She grabbed a handful of toilet paper and swiped at her lips. The evidence flushed down the toilet immediately. Her focus fell on the sink, spots of dried toothpaste clung to the porcelain. Her husband had always been messy. A smile drew on her face. Lines stretched their way beside her eyes like eyelashes creased into the skin.
Tears prickled her nostrils and she exhaled a long breath. There’s nothing she would take back, even the self-hatred that came out of nowhere. How dare she look at herself with disgust. This body, this skin, and the expressions worn so often they permanently mapped her face.
She turned off the light and crawled back into bed.
Author’s Note: Let’s call this creative non-fiction 😉 I entered this in a local contest. Hoping I place!
Author Update: I just found out it’s being published!!! Sometimes I need things like this to tell me I’m not a fraud. I’m actually doing something right and it feels so good.
Your story deserves publishing. Congratulations!
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