She stared at her reflection in the toothpaste-speckled mirror until her eyes lost focus and all she could see was an outline of her former glory; splodges of cream and blonde and blue. A moment later, she snapped back to the present and bared her teeth at the woman before her. Oh Tess, you animal, she thought, that face is enough to make anyone run for the hills. Her expression became solemn once more and she continued to watch her reflection, eyes vanishing to slits. Even now that her face was still, she felt the cracks forming. They split my mouth in two and now they’re coming for you, cheeks. And you’ll be next, nose. This was through no fault of her foundation – she had applied the same, liberal amount as before – no, it was something far more involved than the daily mask she used to conceal her flaws.
Her alarm sounded and she broke her concentration to silence the high pitched buzz of her phone. As every second passed and the gap between “alone-time” and “work” shortened, the fissures in her face continued to widen. She found herself closing her eyes more often to calm her anxiety, though it did not appear to be very effective.
The grandfather clock downstairs struck eight o’clock. With one last sigh, she descended the stairwell, her gait adjusting from a sombre shuffle to a powerful pace like a cheap copy of Reservoir Dogs.
She opened the door. The cracks in her face became one giant void so that another face could be seen instead of her own; flawless, innocent and happy. The face of a woman who had no reason to glare at her own reflection, nor the loneliness to pull strange faces at her mirror image as though it would respond with a different, more ridiculous expression.
“Hello. Hell-oh! Heh-low!” She muttered beneath her breath as she walked down the path to her gate. She visualised her boss’ response to each of these in turn and decided the second choice was the best for this morning.
Or at least, that’s what her new face thought; her old one had peeled away as soon as she had left the safety of her home.
I apologise if this piece of writing is a bit jumbled; I haven’t slept in more than thirty seven hours (with the exception of a ten minute nap this afternoon)! I’ll probably just edit it tomorrow, I guess.
I really wanted to explore an individual’s public/private sphere and how difficult it can be when they don’t align. It’s as though you aren’t being true to your self; the essence of you. Like you’re modifying your behaviour just because you’re being watched, as in a Panopticon. And then you begin to worry which part of your being is your true self: is it all part of this character which you have created? So you don’t really belong; just an awful, fake carbon copy of yourself.
Someone in class said that they saw make-up as a way to appear innocent and different to their non make-up wearing self; perhaps that’s where this came from.