The following scene takes place on a saturday morning sometime after 3:30. The location is the dressing room of an old burlesque cabaret. The room reminds one of an artist’s palette with splashes of color by carelessly thrown shoes, wigs and feather boas.
She removed her wig exposing clumps of sweaty bobby pinned hair under strips of duct tape in the attempts of holding her facial skin tight. Some strips were peeling, sliding from the sweat.
“Stop it. Don’t give me that look” She spoke to nobody in particular, or maybe she spoke to ghosts in the closet. “I know because you think I wear women’s clothes you assume I’m addicted to the humiliation. This has nothing to do with that, I’m proud of who I am.”
“I went back because I left something behind. Something important.” She started removing her makeup. Tears had cleared the path through her foundation, like a river of rain awakening a drought, turning the dry soil to mud upon contact.
The something important she’d left behind was her dignity, and it hung in tatters above her. She forced a smile on her lips. “And I was dazzling,” she poured a few drops of baby oil on a cotton ball and dabbed at her eyes. “My best performance ever.”
She stared in the mirror, slowly fading away, watching a memory as if it were a movie only she could see. Her eyes rolled backwards before her eyelids dropped down over them. She hummed, and hugged herself.
“Of course I had to go back. My last performance could not be one where I run off the stage in shame.” She roughly stabbed at her eyes with the blackened cotton ball trying to remove the last particles of mascara. Her makeup matched her level of stubbornness. “If you fall off a horse…” she tossed the soiled cotton aside.
“And now I can retire,” she spread her fingers widely framing her face “Fade to black.” She picked up a facecloth and removed the bulk of her foundation revealing a greying five o-clock shadow. She zipped up her baby blue velvet hoodie, and stood up just as she was being summoned from the doorway.
“Are you ready Nana? I want to go home.”
She turned the lights off the dresser, and closed the door behind her, leaving her wig where it had been dropped.
≈FADE TO BLACK≈
This was a S30P writing prompt using the line “hung in tatters above her” pulled from HAUNTING a story by the talented and gifted Tara. I didn’t know where I was going with this. I woke up at 4:45 am with the first paragraphs. I allowed the story to guide me, holding my hand like a child…
Oh how I love drag queens…
Image attribution: Allan Warren (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons