By Mary McCallum
The art of mascara isn't hard to master. It just needs a firmness of touch, and a wiggle before the brush leaves the lashes. I've applied it on the run: on the toilet, eating breakfast, driving to work - one hand on the steering wheel, one on the mascara wand, both eyes on the road. I swear, I'd only check it in the rear vision mirror once or twice.
That last time was different. Something scratching - a dislodged lash? The mascara clogged on the brush. I remember tipping the mirror and looking deep into the weeping white of my eye. Then the flash of yellow out of nowhere. Tiny candy-pink tights cartwheeling. One shoe. On the bonnet, the daisy from the little yellow hat.
That's all I see now, and I refuse to frame it. No more black plasticky lash-paint for me. Lashes, only lashes.
I know, I posted this story yesterday. But this is 'Lashes' illustrated. (And edited a little bit.)
The drawing is by Helen Reynolds who lives in the house where I used to live. She posts a drawing or artwork every day on her blog and I link to it in my sidebar. I am fascinated by Helen's work which makes me laugh and pause to think and arrests me in full blog-reading stride especially when it eerily echoes my writing at the time, like the heart which pumped blood like this poem, and the drawing above which felt just like the story 'Lashes' I'd entered in the BNZ short-short story competition.
It also gave me pause because, although it was a self-portrait of Helen, it made me think of the many times I'd caught sight of myself on a busy day in the rear vision mirror of the car - tired, too, from too many chores and too much time driving around delivering and picking up my children, and too little time pausing before a mirror doing what women with mirrors do. It struck me that there'd be many women who would feel the same way - not least the woman in my story.
So thank you, Helen, for 'Self-portrait' and for letting me use it here.