I try to make myself look pleasant, I try to make myself pretty and acceptable and most of all approachable.
” Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good ” I saw that on my Facebook news feed. So I try to do what Facebook says because maybe I’ll fit in, from what I have seen, if you can speak Facebook and follow it’s teachings you are halfway to being invited into the human race.
As I have in the past, I hope that today is the day I get it right and maybe today is the day I don’t feel like that one piece of rotten fruit in the overflowing fancy antique crystal fruit bowl of life.
I wash my face, I brush my hair, and I softly chant those magic words, ” Look Good. Feel Good. Do Good.”
As I apply my eyeliner I whisper those words, as I put on my lipstick and dust blush onto my cheeks I raise my voice and sing it to the Universe.
I lift my chin make sure I’ve properly blended my powders and creams and colors that are guaranteed to make me look sun kissed and vibrant and alive and approachable and God help me…loveable.
I want to be loveable most of all.
Will it work?
I don’t know, it hasn’t yet.
I must be missing something, some small detail that makes people not take the seat next to me on the train even though all of the other seats are full, or the way they try not brush up against me when I’m walking down a busy sidewalk.
Can it be fixed with the right scarf? The right color of lip gloss? If I can find it, I know I can correct it.
I look into my mirror and I start to cry because I’m beginning to think that that memes from social media or expensive cosmetics are going to help me and I don’t know why.
I cover my ears with my hands so I won’t hear myself sobbing and then I think-maybe if I put my hair up and twist it into a knot and hold it in place with a pen or clips. That might do the trick I desperately hope as I run into my bedroom and grab a pen and some hairclips.
I run back into my bathroom, I stand up straight I smile confidently into my mirror and I lift my hair up into a ponytail and that’s when I see the incision and the thread near my collarbone that the Mortician used to sew me back up after she embalmed me.
I poke at it a little and think maybe I should do something about that too.
The door, at the top of the stairs with the not very rusted hinges is never locked.
No matter what the weather is like her windows are never shuttered.
The unbleached muslin curtains are always tied away from the windows with ribbon she saved from a Christmas present she got from my Grandmother when she was a girl.
The present was a doll that disappeared a few days after Christmas and my Father says my Grandfather asked about it a few days later and my Aunt looked out the window towards the lake and shrugged.
And then she laughed.
In my Aunt’s room
at the top of the stairs she always has a fan running in the corner, it sounds like someone sharpening knives we have decided.
The fan ( an old fashioned one we presumed ) relentlessly whispers,
when you are trying to sleep or decide what to wear or when you are trying to watch TV or fall asleep, in it’s a smooth metallic voice interrupted by a clink and a thunk and then silence for a mere second before it started up again.
My Aunt has a room at the top of the stairs.
and there is a
welcome signed nailed to the door.
The sign is made from pressed tin and has tiny bluebirds stamped around the edges.
But something about that fan whirling relentlessly in the corner,
makes the friendly, delicate sign seem less inviting.
It is hung on the door with a nail that was far to big
for such a small sign and it had been driven in so deep the sign was slightly folded and it looked like the Blue Birds were going to fly into each other.
My Aunt has a room at the top of the stairs
where she does all of her writing, all of her plotting and some of her dreaming.
and we admire her as much as we fear her
because to do what she does, takes talent and dedication and I must say, frightening amounts of supernatural focus and drive
when you consider
she is buried a good ten miles away from our house.
We all know at least one child like Diwa Bell – some of us may have been like her in temperament ( quiet, thoughtful and well mannered to a fault ) and could be counted on- even at the young age of 11 to get her homework done and her bed made without being asked.
She feeds her pets at the same time each day, she gives them fresh water and leaves a post it on the refrigerator door to her parents attention when they are running low on food and she can be counted on to do last minute tasks for her Aunts and Uncles or important tasks like helping her Grandmother with chores at her house.
Last Saturday one of Diwa’s Aunties was supposed to take Grandmother Maria her weekly ‘care package artfully packed inside of a lunch box cooler.
As usual, Inside the sturdy little cooler with happy smiling turtles marching around the sides, was homemade butter with strawberries stamped on the top of the little golden ball, pink salt ( Diwa didn’t get that, it tasted like salt but the color was pretty ) a selection of homemade fruit flavored salsas and thin water biscuits.
And of course there was always a selection of macaroons in Grandmother’s favorite colors- pink and purple.
Auntie Hyacinth was like Diwa, thoughtful, kind and well mannered to a fault and her baskets were always picture perfect.
On this particular Saturday one of Auntie’s neighbors had an issue with her car and Diwa found a post it on the fridge door Saturday morning asking if she wouldn’t mind stopping by Grandmother’s to drop off the care package and maybe spend a little time with Grandmother.
Diwa made a little note under the message and told her Mother she was off for the day and would be home before dinner, she stuck it to the door and went upstairs to get ready and a little while later she set out for Grandmother’s House.
There were two pluses to walking to Grandmother’s House.
One was that the walk wasn’t very long and second Diwa had to pass by a lot of gardens full of flowers and fake wells stuffed with more flowers and of course there were the fake deer and gnomes, frogs ( the frogs were usually wearing crowns ), rabbits ( standing next to baskets of carrots ) and plastic Virgin Marys and Lawn Jockeys galore.
Diwa loved those still, quiet and attentive plastic creatures, she always hoped against hope one of them would twitch an eye or move just a teeny tiny bit and the- well, Diwa wasn’t sure about the ” and then ” part but she it didn’t play in her thoughts.
Grandmother’s house was the nicest little house on her street.
It looked like a little cottage from a Christmas card and almost everthing in side of it- including the curtains that hung in the windows which Grandmother always kept open just a crack, even in the dead of winter.
Diwa gave three quick little taps on the door and pushed it open and she stood there waiting for Grandmother’s cheery hello- but the house was quiet, it smelled wonderful because today was the day Grandmother did her baking, but it was so quiet.
” Is that you Diwa?” Grandmother called from the back of the house ” I’m sorry sweetness, I had a very big night and I took a little nap.”
Diwa went to the kitchen and set her basket down- she resisted the urge to take peak in the oven to see what Grandmother had planned for lunch because Grandmother had strict rules about opening the oven door when she was baking or roasting. It affected the cooking she said.
” Grandmother, what are you baking? It smells so- ” Diwa thought for a moment ” It smells so tasty. Is it chicken?”
She went out to the hallway that led to the back of the house and for a minute or two Diwa looked as still and carefully placed as one of the yard statues she enjoyed watching so much.
” Darling, come on back here will you? I need some help getting up. I’m a little stiff, like I said I had a very big night.”
Grandmother’s bedroom was a warm and cozy as the rest of Grandmother’s house and as always it smelled faintly of apples.
She was laying on her bed and her eyes were closed but she opened them when Diwa appeared at the door.
” There she is, there’s my lovely girl.”
Diwa smiled and went to her Grandmother’s side and looked down into her face.
” Grandmother, your eyes look so red, have you been crying?”
” No, no, I was out so late and they are just a bit tired and old like me. But they are still sharp my lovely. I can see you perfectly and right now, that is all that matters”
Diwa reached down and with one finger pushed a lock of hair away from her Grandmother’s brow and behind her ear ” Grandmother, those are such pretty earrings I’m glad you wore them today. ”
” I wore them just for you. I know how fond you are of the Moon and the stars. You’re a romantic, just like me.”
Then Grandmother smiled and Diwa gasped. ” You have such a great smile Grandmother. It lights up the room.”
Grandmother sat up and swung her legs over the bed. ” Now my darling, it’s lunch time and I am very hungry. I’ve been in the mood for something special, something a little rich and it most certainly not is chicken. In fact, I was up all night putting it together.”
Diwa reached down to help her Grandmother up. ” What did you make?”
Grandmother leaned down and whispered into her ear, ” I’ve made Shepherds Pie. And if I timed it right he should be ready for us by now.”