Make-up was 100 percent forbidden, and because of that, I craved it all the more. Each day, while waiting for the van to take me to school, I would creep into my mother’s room, hoping to catch a glance of the mysterious magic and beauty that transformed her from an ordinary housewife into a Queen. That was what she was, I decided. The Queen of make-up.
How I loved to watch her bat on a bit of lipstick, comb on a little mascara, and circle her eyes with eyeliner before heading off with a perfume-scented hug that lingered in the air for what seemed like hours after she had left. How I craved to experience the grown-up world of unexplored colors and exotic scents.
Alas, my mother always warned me not to touch the cases. “Makeup is not for little girls.” she lectured. I would have to be content to hover around her like a scavenger, waiting to pounce on any particles of the flower perfume mist, or specks of colored dust that missed her body.
It consumed me. This dire need to be The Queen, beautiful and famous, showed itself in my childish drawings of me with red cheeks, oversized red lips, and purple-painted eyelids. I was reduced to begging, pleading even, for her to bend just slightly. If only she would allow me one day to rule the throne, I’d be satisfied enough to last a lifetime. My mother remained firm. “Make-up,” she mumbled around her lipstick, “is not for little girls.”
I plotted. I could use my own meager allowance to save up and buy my own kit. I quickly dismissed that plan. Who knows how long would that take? Hadn’t I already suffered enough? No, the only solution would be to borrow my mother’s materials. If I only took a little, she would never find out. But when? If I went to school with make-up on, my teachers would surely call my mother, and she was always home before me. Then, it came to me.
Saturdays, for approximately forty-five minutes, my mother went to the store to obtain supplies for Sunday dinner. Usually, I would be left to my own mischievousness while, mostly in the form of yard-play, but this time, I would not play in the dirt like a commoner. This time, I would become a Queen.
I planned very carefully; if I were to sneak into her room as soon as the last rumble of the car engine faded away, I would have plenty of time to transfer into the beautiful angel I had seen my mother become so many times before.
On the evening of my plan, I waved goodbye, as I watched my mother drive off, my face pressed to the cold glass of the living room window.
As soon as she was out of sight, I ran to her room, making a beeline for the makeup case. My hand trembled with excitement, slipping a bit as I reached for the simple latch that kept the treasures hidden. After what seemed like an eternity, a simple click informed me that the only thing between me and absolute perfection lay in a simple, black lid.
The moment weighed heavily on me, and I carefully lifted the lid, not waiting to leave any evidence of my presence. The...