She glances from across the counter, and her eyes, her perfect, green eyes, hold still. They blink slowly, the pillow of dark chestnut lashes fan out and upwards like a thick plumage of palm leaves. Glossy. Curved. Perfect.
What would it be like to press my index finger to their tip…and press down gently on that fan of curvature? I wonder silently. Would those little, useless pieces of hair succumb to my will, then spring back to their natural, perfected state? I wonder if they are soft…like mine. I love doing that to mine, except they are straight and fine and very stubborn. Sometimes for no reason in particular, I’ll hold out my index finger, line it up straight and parallel to my eye just under my lashes, and blink. Each bend of each lash sends a tiny jolt to its base, hidden in the crevice of the upper rim of my eye, and the sensation expands, the way a warm gulp of mulled wine seeps down my throat and permeates every single pore in winter. It makes me feel alive, the awareness of each blink. It’s the closest to being able to feel my thoughts forming.
I blink a lot, it occurred to me, especially when I’m anxious.
“Nice color.” The Perfect Green Eyes motions to my fingertips, now tapping unconsciously on the marbled surface. “What’s that? Fuchsia? Fuchsia’s in this year. It’s all over the runway.” She waves her hand nonchalantly, as if shooing away a non-existent fly.
“It’s pink…berry, maybe.” I blink.
“Huh.” Those eyes again. There are some kind of gold speckles in it. I make a mental note to self. Is that what people call hazel?
“Don’t last very long though huh?” She waves again. “I hate chipped nail polish, so annoying.”
…..A wave of severe indifference suddenly overcomes me. I will my face to stay still.
“And I like what you did to your hair, you know, that streak thing.” The Green Eyes flash, a glint of glee, I imagine.
“It was red.” I hear myself say. “Then orange, and now it’s kind of blond.”
“My hair doesn’t hold color well.” I shrug.
“That must be annoying.” The Green Eyes blink again, and a smile curls up the corner of her perfectly plump, pink lips.
I want to laugh. But I don’t want to seem crazy.
“Actually, I kind of like it.” I feel a grin forming. It just creeps up my cheek like when you know you are about to tell a really funny joke, but you have to pretend that you don’t know. You know?
“Well, it’s certainly interesting. Not like my hair, it’s just always this boring red color.” She tosses her long, wavy, crimson tresses behind her shoulder. They are glorious, and she knows it.
“You can’t say you aren’t colorful.” The grin broadens, and it tickles.
The Green Eyes pause, then widen, and a trail of laughter spills out of those pink lips. Pitch-perfect.
She looks back one last time, those perfect green eyes flashing, and flips those god damn perfect hair again like she surely has done many times before. “Well, have a good day!”
“I will.” My smile now full-blown and I’m not even trying. “You too.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I catch the guys behind me in line following her figure appreciatively with their gazes as she makes her way towards the door.
I reach into my hair and search for the faded strand of ashy blond. I can’t see. But I feel it.
Winding it around my left index finger, a deep breath escapes that I didn’t even realize I was holding. A wave of relief washes over me.
And just like that, a trail of laughter spills out of my plain, espresso-stained lips, and bounces off the ivory, smooth walls.