Paper Dolls

In the black heat of early morning, I listen to the crickets as they chirp their buzzing symphony right outside my open window. The first day of autumn approaches and I want it more than anything. Bonfire smoke in my hair and chunky boots on my feet. To turn the page of the season of sticky madness and slide into a smoother, smoldering state of being.

It is still too dark out to see the outline of the majestic trees but I can hear them rustling in the wind. A cool pungent rain is moving in today and I could not be more ecstatic over it. I need the gray so badly I can taste it. Rain is such a glorious, replenishing thing. A dreary gloomy mood entire. I want it to fill me, all of me. Quench whatever this restlessness is inside.

There is writing to be done. There are plants to water and clothes to wash and calls to make. Emails to send and all the rest. The mechanical gears of life as product, life as machinery.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch a perfect ink black spider as it scrambles its way across the wooden floor and disappears into a corner. Where on earth did it come from and where is it going. Fast. Wherever it is going, it is traveling at lightning speed. Little spy. Little bandit. Creature of shadow. Things on its mind. Probably blinded by all the lights.

I type a few lame lines and delete them. My fingernails are too long and I’m dying to chop them off but I’m in a formal event next week and want to try one of those French manicures which are apparently still a thing. Some styles are a classic and classics are my favorite. Timeless looks. Audrey Hepburn. Grace Kelly. Lauren Bacall.

I’ll need a whole new face, of course. New lipstick, eye shadow, the works. It’s been a while since any of this level of fanfare has made its way into my otherwise low key existence. A lot feels overdone these days. Dramatic, over-the-top. Flashy. Exhausting. Senseless. But as I scroll for fashionable inspiration, I can’t help but lust over a liquid onyx eyeliner and some brand new jewels.

I mean, I can be painted for a while. I can be made into a glamorous sexy thing if I want to and it turns out maybe I want to in spite of the excess and the money and the effort and the annoying length of my nails. What’s that saying? If you can’t beat them, join them, right.

As the sun just barely peeks over the horizon, I can see the faint outline of tall trees covered in a thin gauzy mist. A school bus rumbles down the street, headlights staring down the stoic asphalt, and I note the ungodly hour. Who the hell can think so early. Who can be expected to have a single thought about anything that makes any kind of sense when the sweet feathered birdlings haven’t even yet made a peep.

I drop a silky chocolate brown eye palette into my virtual shopping cart along with some very expensive oil which claims to lift and plump and tighten and all the other bullshit. I watch a very tan, busty woman curling her bleach blond hair. I watch another woman, strikingly exotic looking, drizzling what appears to be some sort of honey-infused syrup all over her young dewy cheeks.

I know I shouldn’t want to perpetuate any of this gimmicky nonsense. And yet I fall for all of it like the first tiny leaf to turn auburn before turning crimson before turning brown as dirt and unfastening itself. Cascading down on the wind in the one magical, final free-wheeling dance of its short little life.

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