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Posts Tagged ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

When I was young, I wore eye liner and light pink lipstick; the trend of the times. As I grew older, I added foundation and moisturizer, eye shadow for a special event. These days, I rarely put anything near my eyes and I slather on more moisturizer than I used to. What little I use lasts me for a very long time, so, I don’t buy make-up very often at all. I buy my foundation and moisturizer at the same store, Nordstrom’s.

Lipstick; ah, lipstick. I never buy lipstick at the same store or in the same shade – and I always buy it on a cloudy day.

You see, I have a tainted past. I take great precautions to cover my lips, change my shade. Serpentine shopping is my operative mode, and identify modification. Don’t tell anyone, okay?

It all started about fourteen years ago on a breathtakingly beautiful fall day. A clear, colorful, feel good sort of day. I was adjusting to an empty nest, having just delivered our younger fledgling to college for the first time and our older fledging to her first apartment. I needed to be out-and-about, and I needed a gift, so, off I went to my favorite shopping center, Oakbrook. My first stop was the Museum Store of the Art Institute of Chicago. I wish it was still there, for all its gift buying treasures. I fear I may have driven them out of business that day.

I milled about, made a selection that would be perfect for a perfect friend. I completed my purchase and proceeded jauntily toward the door.

Bam! I felt like I was hit by a brick. I saw, really saw, stars. My eyes watered. Blood gushed from my nose. The clerks and another shopper gaped as I bounced backwards. From within, where I still stood, the sound of the thud still echoed.  From without,  passers-by stared amazed – or tried not to laugh. I understood. I painfully understood how it must have looked from their perspective.

I had walked smack dab into the plate-glass door. They do a good job of window washing at Oakbrook Center.

No one offered to help me. I finally, urgently, asked a clerk if I could please have some paper towels to staunch the blood. Mount St. Penelope was erupting. Reluctantly, she gave me some. I tidied myself up as best I could, shook off my humiliation, and walked, once again, to the door.

As I walked, a little slowly, my head pounding my heart’s beat, I was certain I would have a black eye by the time I arrived home.

Slowly I walked, and my humiliation grew, for on that once pristine glass door was the oily smudge of my forehead. The smear of blood from my nose, and then, spot on, the rest of my portrait , in luscious cherry blossom red – the perfect imprint of my lips.

Was that the worst? Oh no. I’m a veteran tried-and-true shopper. I kept on shopping. It was when I walked back, past the store,  that I saw my face , still on the door. That kiss of lipstick. I knew I was a marked woman with that  one last kiss. . .

. . . I wonder if that was why I was fingerprinted so many years later. Sigh. Our past always follows us, doesn’t it, or looks right at us!

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