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Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Beauty on the Fire

I stand gingerly on the edge of the stool and peer carefully into the bathroom mirror. The lipstick is anywhere but on my lips, and deep dark lines around my eyes mark where I have unsuccessfully tried to apply mascara. My sister's shoes fit me perfectly though, and I stand and admire myself, wearing a bright green sleeveless top that reaches my knees, and no pants.

The crowd in the club is beginning to thin now. As another 80s song comes crackling out of the speakers, I stand in the wings and watch the routine on stage. Left Left Right Pause Right Right Right Pause Lean Left Right. The invisible commands go through my head as I watch another clockwork performance come to an end, and the dancers spread out to mingle with a crowd that consists mostly of drunk men and even camper queens. I find myself sitting back at my dressing table, the light bulbs framing my face - painted with light brown foundation and pink glossy lipstick. Beneath my robe I am wearing my favorite sea-blue gown with a slit all the way up to my hip. My mouth is dry from smoking the cheap cigarettes from the vending machine, and my martini seems to have emptied itself onto my dresser, mingling with the rows of lipstick and nail polish. I lean towards the mirror, the glare from the bulbs now clearly illuminating my hollow and tired eyes. I can see my room mate behind me in a pale yellow sequined gown, talking with a middle-aged man who is guzzling a beer and smiling coyly at him. As I watch them I suppress the urge to run over and break the bottle on his head. Get out of here you filthy prick. Go back home to your wife and the kids you never have time to see. In silent rage I watch them leave the club and I turn to face my dead reflection in the mirror. Dancing Queen pours out from the speakers, but I hang up my robe and head upstairs to fall into the arms of a stranger.

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