Cloaked in shame and reeking of despair she meandered home; head low, shoulders hunched against the elements, a bag clutched in her fisted hand. She would occasionally raise her head; a smile plastered on her face her eyes pools of untold stories of pain. Her strong voice would ring out in friendly laugh and greeting. Her neighbours must never found out.
The day at work been a dance on a fine line; unable to disrobe and show true self she dons on her daily uniform. The makeup to mask the sallow skin; around the eyes to give them life and her lipstick a bold statement, shouting for attention. Her clothes are meticulous chosen; loot at me, her breasts demand from behind a severe jacket which is buttoned up like a shield. The heart sighs behind the constraints it must bear. Nylon sheaths her once striking legs, giving an illusion of their former glory. Low-heeled shoes; I am hard working her stout feet say with each purposeful stomp. Her skirt below the knee, her mounds have forgotten the kiss of sunlight.
With each passing hour, with each person she helps she wonders; will this one see beyond the mask? Who will knock on my frozen door and offer a warm drink for my thirsting soul. All she fears and hopes is not seen. “How lovely she is,” they exclaim to each other.
“Always smiling,” another concurs.
“Never a hair out of place,” observes another admiringly.
“No!” She wants to scream, “You aren’t seeing me, look beyond the mask, see the human inside my shell.” They never do, because she never does.
No matter, the day’s end is nigh, the cocoon of her home is near.
She leaves promptly, conflict ion her heart; straight home or past her beloved’s first? What sense was I to love that which harmed you? No home, there was plenty to do there. But what? Fold the laundry; read a book? Spend endless hours contemplating the emptiness? Drawing shapes from shadows cast by the furniture? No, better to have some company.
And so she walks the aisle, seeking her refuge. The cool breeze signals her arrival. In a practiced trance she rescues her favourite from the depths of its cold tomb. As she weaves her way home she imagines when she sits down and indulges. How her loneliness won’t seem to matter; how she will look beautiful when she gazes upon herself in the mirror. Those moments fill up her tank of tolerance so she may face tomorrow with the same bravado she has always shown.
She is a lonely a woman, she finds solace in a spoonful of ice-cream, pastry, anything that will taste like how she wishes she felt, happy