Etude, for Eric Clapton
I tell her she is looking great. She smiles a little, and then turns serious. She is in the middle of her make-up routine. She examines the mirror thoroughly, sending me a quick look every now-and-then, just to verify the kind of face I am using when staring at her. She knows that I am ready. And she really looks great today. I mean, she usually looks good, and that includes today.
I tell her that again, and I watch her in the mirror, noticing she is smiling with her eyes. She looks satisfied, not from the results of her make-up, since she hasn’t finished yet, but just a general feel of content that reflects pleasant satisfaction, not with just herself but with both of us. Now she is spreading lipstick on her lips, signaling that this, probably, is the final stage.
Even that I am used to watch her working her make-up, I never remember what is the time when the make-up process ends. Anyway, it is clear that she knows how to operate her make-up fast and efficient. I have been seeing her many times in such situations. Throughout all the time that we’ve been together. However, I never remember the order of her make-up process and when it is supposed to be defined as complete. Perhaps after the lips some other things should show-up, eyelids, or moisturizer cream, or eyelash thickening, or else.
She always puts make-up before we go out. She doesn’t exaggerate with that at all. In my opinion, and I told her that several times, not just for empathy or politeness reasons, she doesn’t really need the make-up. But we both know that she does. All girls are like that, mine included.
I look at her in the mirror. “You really think I look good?” she asks. Her voice sounds funny, as her lips are stretching and shrinking, to check the lipstick and to verify that it hasn’t stained her teeth. But we are both serious. “No”, I reply, “I don’t really think that you look good. I am just saying that to pass the time until we are ready to leave”.
I like giving her answers like that. When I tell her she looks good it is, for me, mainly to state a fact, more than give a compliment, but she prefers taking that as a beginning of something to be expanded further more. I do not surrender to that. I already finished spraying myself with aftershave, not my regular daily perfume but the more expensive and luxurious one, the one I keep for going out and parties, and I have already fixed my tie and checked that I had all the necessary stuff, wallet and keys and whatever. I am ready. Fully ready. I look at her in the mirror, in a kind way, just to show that I am still here and that I got patience. She is still working on her make-up, but that’s OK. No pressure. I don’t mind waiting for her a little more.
I consider telling her again how good she looks, especially when I have enough time to say that, since her body language says that we haven’t finished yet. So I tell her. For her, the words that I am saying are like background music while being busy with her make-up, and for me, now thinking about it, I behave like a football fan. She and the make-up and the mirror are the playing field, and I am with the crowd. My job as a fan is to get fascinated, to offer support and take things to my heart.
“Take it easy, one more second and I am ready” she says, now in her regular voice. She reviews her eyelashes, her cheeks are a bit stretched and elevated, making her eyes Chinese-like. I expect that now she would signal that that’s it, but she suddenly shows some tension. She is not happy. Something went wrong, though nothing critical, still it needs to be resolved. “I need three more minutes. I am just fixing the…”
She accelerates her moves while watching me through the mirror, to make sure that I understand that she is in full control and that there’s no wasting of time. Her moves are precise, even charming, leading me to think that I like her make-up method. I presume that every woman has her own unique method, even though for me, regarding all the women that I have ever known, including my mother, it looks the same. “You really and honestly think I look good?” she repeats her question.
“Yes” I now answer.
“You always think so?” she goes-on, while checking her face in the mirror. It seems that now she has managed to fix whatever went wrong a few minutes ago. “You believe I am still beautiful?”
“Yes” I say, waiting a second then I gently ask “Are we going now?” she smiles and we leave.
At the end of the evening we return home, to our bedroom, packed with desire. She is burning in happiness, her eyes are shiny. Not just her man, but everyone else there, at the party, thinks that she is beautiful. There were even some who told her that. And I am happy with my share, having the one that everybody wants. She hugs and embraces me closely, shutting her eyes, and I can see her make-up from very close. This time she hasn’t bothered removing it before we go to bed. She whispers with hoarse voice “So, you think I look good?” and I answer “Very much so. But it doesn’t mean anything”.