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Less than Zero

September 12, 2010

I put on mascara yesterday morning.  This might not seem like a big deal, especially in Dallas where they don’t walk the dog without a full face of makeup, but to me, it is a big deal.

I haven’t had enough eyelashes to put mascara on since August 2007, when they fell out.  They fell out while Chris and I were playing Warcraft on our laptops on tables in a large hallway next to one of the many snack bars at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  They drifted down off my face to land on my keyboard like autumn leaves on a still day, or like cherry blossom petals during the Japanese Cherry Blossom festival.  I’d had chemotherapy that morning, so was forcing fluids to keep it from building up in my bladder, and every time I got up to use the bathroom, the bare places on my eyelids were  more noticable and then they were gone.  I mentioned it to our Warcraft friends, and one of them, a cop and a combat army veteran, told me about the time he got shot in the face and they had to rebuild his eye socket .  He told me about the time he was wearing his eye patch in New Orleans when a lady said “That’s just for show,” reached up, pulled it off, and immediately vomited.  That story remains one of my top two epic cancer friend win moments.  It’s why finding the right support group is widely touted as central to surviving cancer.

A few days later, new lashes grew in, tiny blond hairs like the lashes that some babies are born with, that look like no lashes but are not, in fact, no lashes.  At the time, I called it an object lesson in the value of zero,  because having teeny tiny baby lashes was infinitely better than no lashes, and that realization is what I clung to when my “real” eyelashes returned, thin and short and sparse.  I tried to wear mascara, but it just emphasized the shortness and sparseness of my eyelashes.  It was horrible, in fact worse by far than having no lashes at all.  For three years, I have worn eyeliner and sunglasses, or both, and tried not to think about it.

Yesdarday morning, when I was smudging my eyeliner, I noticed that I had eyelashes.  “Hmmmm,” I said to myself, so I pulled out my unused mascara and tried it on.  It looked pretty good!  So I put on another coat.  Presto!  Long spikey eyelashes that looked like the fringe around a venus fly trap!  I spent the next five minutes messing with the eyelash comb and brush while Chris and the kids waited in the car for me to go to the paint store.

This morning, I woke up with smudged mascara all over my face.  I look like a raccoon.

From → Warcraft

2 Comments
  1. I hope you buy yourself some brand new, very expensive mascara soon–and get some new eyeshadow, too. You ARE worth it!

  2. Susan permalink

    Throw away the old makeup. Buy new stuff. The old stuff can have bacteria or other yuck in it. You should replace that stuff every six months. Although, living in Dallas, you probably use it up now within two months.

    Reporting in from frumpy casual Austin, I remain, your affectionate bare-faced friend.

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