12 Essential Makeup Tips for the Aging Ghost
12 Essential Makeup Tips for the Aging Ghost
Apply lipstick to your dead mouth to bring it back to life. Quirk one side of your mouth up in a smirk. Trace your invisible lips once more, a touch too full, a touch too vivid. A red, rotting mouth is less terrifying after this moisturizing treat!
Do not open the bathroom door to your husband’s red face. He’s stopped shouting. He hasn’t shouted since–
Now, the eyebrows! You don’t have any hair left, so use short, quick strokes to fill in the space an inch above where you remember your eyes being. Your brows should be sisters, not twins.
There. Now you have eyebrows and a whore’s mouth.
Do not open the door.
Apply your foundation. Take care not to mess up your lips or brows. Put in your preferred color of contacts and use a white eyeliner pencil to draw in the whites of your eyes. This may itch a little!
Then, some blush. Eyeshadow. Eyeliner. And mascara. A little more blush. You don’t want to look too ghoulish.
The face in front of you should be a fair copy of the one on your corpse, still in bed with your husband’s fury.
Press your ear to the door and hear the breath rattling in his throat. Hear him suck oxygen into his body, hold it, claim it for himself. “Are you almost ready?”
Do not open the door.
It’s important to stick to a routine! Time to move on to your breasts. Feel how full they are, resting your invisible hands on your invisible chest. Your mind might produce a much less developed version. The last time you really studied your body – before it belonged to the world, to bikini pics, and to your husband – was when it was changing. Anxious, teenaged boobs.
Color in the nipples with lip gloss, sparkling pink, before filling in the rest of the chest and torso with foundation. It’s a good idea to pick up a value-sized foundation at your local store. Walk right in and grab it. No one will stop you.
Bridge the disconnected parts of yourself by blending foundation up your neck. Be careful where the feeling of bruised muscle has yet to fade, where a bit of your throat has been broken and sunk into the esophagus.
The pain of it will not fade, but it shouldn’t hurt much more as you rub foundation across your trachea. Don’t think about how cold you are compared to the friction of your makeup sponge against your skin. Do not start shivering or you will shake forever.
Do not open the door.
If you plan to wear clothes to the event, there’s no need to cover your entire, incorporeal body in foundation. Unless you’d like to claim some more time, some more privacy after being stripped of your mortality. Your husband might jiggle the doorknob as much as he pleases. Take the time to paint your legs and hips with foundation. He will babble about the time.
For a fun look, open the locked bathroom door. Watch your husband take in the sight of you, the horror of your half-there body. Open your mouth – wider than it’s ever gone in life, wider than he ever forced it for his pleasure – and release an unholy shriek.
He will shut up, staring into the black hole of your mouth.
If you can hold it long enough, your face will stay that way. Frozen beauty.
Close the door.
Choose a wig that matches your mood! Black is a popular color this time of year.
Paint your nails red to match your lips. Be sure to let each coat dry completely. Your husband will not interrupt again.
Put on your sexiest bra, then a blouse and a skirt.
As you open the bathroom door, say the following: “I’m not wearing any underwear.” Your husband will scream.
He’s been trying to convince himself that you aren’t dead, that he hadn’t–
Say, “I’m ready to go now.”
That was his line. Before.
Let your husband drive, tears running freely from his eyes for your beauty. If he tries to make small talk about whether your friend is having a boy or a girl, do not respond.
Try to arrive when the baby shower is in full swing. Retrieve your gift from the backseat, tighten the green ribbon over the yellow-wrapped package and carry it up the yard to the wide, white tent. Remember to hold it out in front of your body to avoid more smearing.
Stay under the tent. You wouldn’t want your makeup to melt away in the summer heat. See the people laughing and drinking. A few couples dancing in the sunlight. If you are unable to look away, try not to imagine their warmth.
Place your present on the gift table. Your husband has abandoned you by now. You are free to admire the cake.
It’s glorious. Luscious, white frosting with fresh strawberries crowning the top tier.
You have not eaten in two weeks.
Reach your half-smeared arm towards the strawberries on top, melting in sugar and their own juices. Select the very best one. A strawberry redder than your nail polish.
Bring the strawberry to your red lips and bite down. Juice spurts and dribbles down your chin. Feel the warm burst of it in your mouth. Smell the freshness of it in your nose. You still can’t taste it.
Drop the strawberry, let it tumble down to the grass. Swallow the hunk of fruit in your mouth without chewing. Your throat, your mouth is a wide hole again.
See your husband looking concerned. That fake-concerned look that you only learned to spot three years into your marriage. He looked that way standing over your body. A hank of your hair in his hand. Still half shouting about how you cut it too short, how you were depriving him. His other hand retreating from your throat as he fell silent. As if he no longer wished to claim your body now that it was–
Stare back at him. Unblinking. Wait for him to approach. To offer you comfort. Or a shoulder to cry on. To offer you his killing hand.
Your friend is speaking. With her husband, a nice man as far as you know. A gender reveal. The crowd gathers round. After a short speech, they each jab a needle into a black balloon floating above them. Pink confetti rains down. A girl.
A hole opens in your chest. A chasm. It fills up with freezing water, fills you up with freezing water. What bad luck.
Next comes presents. Your friend and her husband open gift after gift. Baby clothes and diapers and strollers and tiny tiny shoes. And then, your gift. They pull on the green ribbon and claw at the yellow wrapping paper to reveal a cardboard box. Your friend opens it, peers inside.
“What’s this supposed to mean?” She looks up. “Why would someone–?”
Her husband takes the box and begins to pull out yards and yards of hair. The strands are split and tangled together. Knotted. He gets his hand stuck, trying to dig himself out, but more hair appears, pulling at him. His hand sinks into the hair more and more.
You don’t move. “Oh, that’s so embarrassing,” you say. “So embarrassing. Why would I do that? That’s so embarrassing. Why would I embarrass them like that? I didn’t mean to. Oh. Oh. Oh.”
Reach for your wig, pull a hank of plasticky hair into your mouth. You begin to shiver.
The icy water in your body sloshes side to side and up your throat. Your throat that has been on fire since the night your husband wrapped his hands around it. Since he pulled your hair and yanked you back by it to stop you from running and held your neck so tight he squeezed the life out of you. Your husband. Your husband. You had thought you would go then, go to heaven or somewhere other than an earthly bed, but he pulled you back. Kept you.
Oh oh oh. He’s gone. Your car is gone. Oh oh. Fly down the street, your dead feet not touching the ground. Fly towards home, follow the route you took here. Find your car. His car. His hands gripping the steering wheel. Settle into the passenger’s seat as the car continues at fifty miles per hour down the residential road.
“My husband,” you say. Take a moment to spit out the fake hair in your mouth.
“You killed me. You pulled my hair, like a boy, and you killed me.”
Your husband shakes his head. “No. You’re not dead. I didn’t do that.”
He will never understand you. Not your fear. Not willingly. But maybe he can see.
Reach a hand towards your husband’s throat. As your fingertips make contact, his skin burns. There’s no fire. No flames. But your husband burns and suffers and chokes under your hand.
As the car speeds down the road, swerving this way and that, open the black hole of your mouth to laugh at his pain, know that it’s spreading from his throat to his brain, down his chest and his hips and legs to the ends of his toes. Laugh and laugh until it becomes a shriek. Unhinge your jaw and swallow your burning husband whole.
The car crashes into a mailbox. In the yard beyond is a garden. See the strawberries in their tangled vines. They will be warm from the sun. Float out of the car and onto the lawn. Step into the garden and feel your makeup melt off all at once. Your hair, your real hair, brushes against the top of your shoulders. Kneel down in the garden, knees pressing into the warm dirt, and reach your fingers out for a red strawberry.