Face paint: Hiding in full sight

The best thing I saw on the train this morning was a woman applying makeup. Full makeup. With a mirror, a brush. Everything.

She was sitting over the other side of carriage, facing in my direction. Transforming her morning self. The face part, anyway. The part that gives away how we feel. Whether we think it does or not.

So, I watched the transformation. Foundation applied with a brush. Red lipstick. In an eyeful of moments she was alive and happy. Ready to smile at the day.

I wished I had the equivalent. Unfortunately there is nothing to mask how I feel. No makeup. No colour. I’m just left with this face, which gives way too much away. I’ve been told I have a poker face. But that was by people who wanted to beat me at poker (and other games).

Ah well, at least this face prevents people from sitting beside me.

Is that why I am an outsider? Because of what’s written on my face? Or because I can’t cover it over with makeup? Or a mask? Or a balaclava? Or a big fucking paper bag?

I would give anything to have something to hide behind at times.

Anything, to obscure the transparency.

The woman rested her head against the window of the carriage and closed her eyes, contented. So contented, in fact, that she flicked out her tongue as if licking an ice cream, oblivious to my envious gaze.

Eventually, I closed my eyes too and listened to some National. When I opened them she was watching me, through a crowded carriage. Probably thinking, “He could do with some makeup.”

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