She took a deep breath as she stared at her face in the mirror in front of her. She was already almost completely made up, her foundation hiding her puffy eyes and her tear stained cheeks. She pulled a tube of lipstick out of her bag, a deep rich red, and took a deep breath as she slowly puckered up her lips, but her hand froze before she could touch the lipstick to her lips. She set the tube down and slowly sank to the floor, her heart shattering once again.
Mr. Right, who had slowly become Mr. Wrong, had taken off that morning, leaving her with a broken heart, They had been together for almost two years. And then he pulled the plug. Thoughts assaulted her from every side, she wanted to blame herself, she wanted to tell herself that if she had been better he would have stayed. But she had also watched him spiral ever since he had come back from his final tour in Afghanistan. She had tried everything to help him, but had become helpless to do so.
She buried her hands in her face and cried the tears that had already spilled endlessly all day. Her body wracked with sobs, her heart feeling like it was being physically pulled from her chest. It took her awhile before she could take a few deep breaths and calm herself down. She grabbed a tissue from the box on the counter and gently wiped the tears from her face. She looked in the mirror again and could see the stains of make-up streaking down her cheeks.
She looked at the person that she had become, the hollow person he had turned her into. Months ago, he had begun to change. He had started to make comments, say things, things she knew weren’t right, words that tore her down. She watched as they both became ghosts of the people they had once been. She watched him destroy his life and hers. But she had stayed, because she had wanted to make it work, to fight for them, to fight for the possibility a long and happy life together, a life with the man she loved with all of her heart.
What she should have been doing was fighting for herself, and for that is what she grieved. She stared at the shell of her former self looking back at her in the mirror. She had lost herself, who she was, what she wanted, her life’s goals, her life’s plans, for a man who made her dreams seem insignificant, who made her needs irrelevant. She had given up every part of her to a man who gave into a habit that took everything from them.
She hear a buzz coming from her cell phone sitting on the counter as it started ringing. She looked down at the name of the incoming call, “Addie.”
She cleared her throat before she tapped the answer button.
“Addie, Hi!” she said, hoping her voice didn’t sound too thick and had enough cheeriness to sound suspicious.
“Mia, Hi….Are you okay?” Addie asked, her voice worried.
“I’m fine, I’m fine.” Mia reassured her little sister.
“You don’t sound fine…” Addie said, hesitantly.
“I’m still picking you up at 5:30, right? Big day for you!” Mia ignored her sister’s last statement, and hoped her voice would carry through the excitement she tried to possess. It was her sister’s last day at her old job and she had just landed an internship at the biggest fashion magazine in New York City. Mia looked at her watch on her arm and the time read 5:00pm. She panicked, realizing that she had to hurry up or she would be late.
Addie laughed, unable to contain her own excitement for that night. “Yes! I can’t wait! Everyone has been so wonderful this week, except Mrs. Connor….she’s never liked me much,” Addie said with a casual laugh. “Gotta go, Sis. I’ll see you in thirty. Love you…” she paused for a second before she hung up, “Are you sure you’re okay?’
“You goose, I’m fine, I promise.” Mia lied, before she clicked the phone off. She would tell her sister later, when it wasn’t in the middle of all of her sister’s festivities, as long as Addie didn’t weasel it out of her before then..
Mia looked up at the mirror again and grabbed a makeup wipe to clean up her mussed face and start over. She put the red lipstick away and went for a more natural look and went and grabbed a white eyelet dress out of her closet. She wanted to feel like this was the turning of a page to a new day and and a new dawning.
She got into her car and drove the twenty minute drive over to her sister’s work and was about to get out of the car when her sister came running up, her hands full with balloons and cards and gifts. Mia jumped out and popped the trunk so her sister could put her things down.
“Thank you, Mia,” Addie said, hugging her sister. “Oh, I love this dress on you. Where’s your boyfriend?”
Mia shook her head, ignoring that Addie never called him by his name. “Not coming.”
“Where’d he disappear to this time?” Addie asked with disdain. “Off to get another fix?”
Mia felt the tears coming to her eyes again, the ones she had been working so hard to keep at bay.
Addie noticed the change in her countenance and saw the pain in her eyes.
“What happened, Mia, what did he do to you? Did he hurt you?” Addie asked angrily.
Maddie shook her head again and sat on the edge of the trunk.
“He left, he left and he won’t be coming back,” Mia replied. “I wanted….” She began.
“You wanted something he was never going to be able to give you. He threw his life away when he took that first hit. And he’s been dragging you down with him.”
Mia nodded, listening to her sister’s words, knowing these words were true. She’d told herself the very same thing, but it didn’t take away from the pain that held her frozen.
“Well, I’m not sorry, he wasn’t good for you. I’m glad he’s gone.” Addie said unabashedly.
“Addie!” Mia said in half-surprise at her sister’s bluntness, but not really that surprised, because Addie had been vocalizing her disdain for him for months now.
Mia nodded, “I know. I know…” She couldn’t say the words “for the best,” even though deep down she knew it was. Her eyes filled up with tears again.
“Nope, none of that. Dry those tears. We are going to go celebrate and forget all about him.” Addie directed, slamming the trunk shut.
Hearing a loud POP, they both jumped. Looking down they saw that one of the balloons had been popped by the trunk lid. They both burst out laughing as they walked to get into the car. Mia felt like she could burst into tears again like the balloon had burst right there, but she calmed herself as she walked back to the driver’s seat. Regardless of what had happened, she was determined to let her sister have this night and celebrate all of her wonderful accomplishments. She shook her head, thinking, “Oh well, it’s just a balloon, just a bunch of hot air.”
Addie put her hand on her sister’s arm as Mia started the car.
“Mia, I know you don’t feel like it right now, but you’re going to be okay. You will get through this, and I will be here by your side.”
Mia nodded, grateful to her sister. She drove towards the other end of town where they were meeting a bunch of friends at the Cheesecake Factory before they were to the local line dancing hall where they were prepared to dance the night away.
As Mia came around the car and took her sister’s arm, Addie handed her a tube of lipstick.
“Put some color on those lips, honey. It’ll make your eyes pop.”
Mia laughed, “Like the balloon?”
Addie laughed and shook her head.
Mia pulled a small mirror out of her purse and quickly put on her lipstick and tried to put a smile on her face.
“That’s it. Now, let’s put the past behind us and go have the time of our lives.” Addie said, pulling her sister towards the restaurant and waving at their group of friends who awaited them outside and were waving eagerly back.
Mia looked at the sun setting in the distance and let the evening close on the current chapter of her life, looking ahead with cautious anticipation.
Photo Source: Brides.com
Song Inspiration: Dan & Shay – Lipstick