With a natural lethargy, she put her makeup on slowly elongating the whole process by several minutes. She wasn’t used to wearing it. Moving her neck like a snake upward from left to right, like she was wrapping it around a trunk or leg, she admired the stretch first, then the movement itself; hypnotic and quiet and binding. She stopped applying the powder to stare. Motionless, she admired herself head on. The blush she chose was dark; a shimmering burgundy that ran across her face and cheekbones in the shape of a bruise. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear examining the soft waves falling over her shoulders first as they moved, and then again as they settled. She wanted to see what she looked like as she approached; in stillness and in motion.
“That took too much time,” she said out loud.
Moving her head back and forth in a slow no gesture to see what she looked like disagreeing, she could feel and see the skin of her lips cracking. She eyed the chapstick on the shelf. She wet her lips with her tongue. We must move on. There was nothing she did for anyone without motive and no one was around to touch them yet. Setting the bamboo brush on the sink, she ignored her dry mouth and her thirst, and picked up the mascara. Carefully, she applied the wand to the eyelashes of her left lid and then immediately stopped to examine herself again. Unbundled and free, her thoughts had been leaping ahead of her. It was distracting. They were being seized by something else; something distant, either imaginary or future she could never tell, but something tugging at her sleeve. Look behind you. She reached for the twisted, plastic straw from the sink’s ledge and began twirling it in her fingers on instinct. Letting herself be overtaken by the fake memory; the fake way he held her, the fake way he smiled, the fake way it felt, she felt the rush in her chest.
“Stop it,” she barked at herself.
Staring at the mirror once more, she held her own gaze in trance.
“My name is Catarina Kacurek,” she practiced again.
She said it a couple more times until she was satisfied with the way it felt rolling off her tongue. Naturally. Nodding, she put the straw back on the ledge and began to apply the mascara to the right lid’s eyelashes. It’s always like this. She couldn’t see the clock in the bedroom and was thankful. I’m late, she knew. Taking her time anyway, she could still feel the electric bubble running up her spine to announce its arrival, announce its bones were growing over her bones into a grove of wands. I have things to do. She set the mascara neatly back in her makeup bag and pulled out the eyeliner. Dragging the skinny black pencil across the top of her left lid first, she felt a breeze, a draft from a hidden place to the left of her. What the fuck is this all for?
As she fawned herself, praising the way her eyes grew from small and doting to big and black and full of infirmity, she heard a car backfire somewhere in the distance. She placed the pencil on the sink and waited. Goosebumps trickled up both arms. In her spine, her bone grove of smoke and scream and sudden life, she felt it.
“My name is Catarina Kacurek. May I come in?” she practiced again, feeling the backfire of other every other thing.