A bit has fallen off my face. Last time I looked, a smooth pink contour joined my nose to my left eyebrow. Now there's a grand canyon. It's a bright morning and our bathroom faces east so I decide to wait until dusk and examine it again.
I borrow some Vaseline from my 7-year old's room and am grateful that he spends his pocket money on such things as J-cloths and washing lines and heavy duty lubricants. I rub it into the missing part of me, then peer closely with the Vicar's vest draped over the lampshade. It now resembles one of the cracks down my sheep-and-cow coffee mug: faint, but still There.
When my mother comes to dinner I keep the lamps down low and hide the candles. Twenty years ago she urged me to splurge on make-up to 'make the most' of myself. Now she urges the same 'to make the best'. There's a indefinable shift there that I do not like.
She says that I look tired. She asks if I've got anything on my face. She delves into her bag and waves a pot of apricot powder. I reply that I do not like cosmetics. I also do not own any. My mother, whose three drawers of Max Factor make her look twenty years younger, disapproves. She points out that my friend Serena has an Estee Lauder concealer stick that works wonders on her bags.
I feel my new fissure widening as she ponders me and she senses that it's time for diplomacy. 'At least,' she says brightly, 'you must have plenty of self-confidence to go out with a face as Nature made you.'
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