• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 04
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The Transformation

I feel like I’m always trying to catch up with her, trailing after her like a lovesick puppy. Whatever Cathy does, I always do it afterwards, coming in second. She even grows up at an alarming rate, experimenting with fuchsia lipsticks and going on dates with boys.

I stand before the mirror, a magenta lipstick in my hand and smear it over my lips. It is oily and slick, staining my teeth. It feels horrible like a wax crayon gone wrong. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Why would anyone want to wear something so greasy on their lips, where everyone can see it?

Personally, I don’t think boys find it attractive; I think they just say they do to see the girl smile, and really there’s something else they find far more attractive.

Cathy doesn’t know this but I often spy on her when she plasters her face with make-up. The transformation is a long and complicated process with Cathy taking painstaking steps to ensure nothing bleeds, smudges or runs. Her movements are careful, considerate, plucking her way though her extensive make-up collection as though they are precious jewels.

Once the lipstick has been applied, Cathy leans close to the mirror and looks as if she is about to kiss it. For a moment, I honestly think she does but she stops less than three inches away and goes ‘Mwah!’, instead. I stuff my hand in front of my mouth, trying to stifle the giggle. It seems to work for a bit but then Cathy slips her top off one shoulder, scrapes her hair back into her hand, and winks at herself which is quickly followed by another ‘Mwah!’


The Transformation

This time, I can’t stop myself; the snigger erupts behind my hand.

Cathy’s head snaps in my direction. I consider getting up, legging it into my bedroom and slamming the door right in her stupid clown face. But my body is creased up with laughter, and besides I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s all Cathy’s fault with her terrible taste in lipstick.

Before I can blink back my tears, Cathy rips open her bedroom door and stands there, her nostrils flaring like an overworked mare’s. Her mouth opens in a perfect O and for a second I think she’s going to let rip and scream. I brace myself, although nothing happens.

Cathy’s eyes betray her and she looks hurt, wounded, as though she is on the verge of crying herself but for completely different reasons. I look at her and am shocked to see a mini version of our mum when she was younger, all dressed up to the nines with no-one to go out with.

I want to reach out and touch her arm, to comfort her in some small way but she rushes past me and runs straight into the bathroom, locking the door behind her.

And I feel like I’m always trying to catch up with her, trailing after her like a lovesick puppy.