It’s 22 years old and has been with me for more than half of my life. I saw it daily. Made contact with it faithfully. It travelled with me from Trinidad, to Ontario, to Alberta, and to Sakatchewan. It went to every job, conference, church gathering, mall, and outing. It gave a true response every single time I wanted to know the state of all things face.
Its edges started to wear out and red fuzz replaced the tightly woven threads in the corners. The cream coloured underlay was probably once white. I did not care. I was going to keep it. I’m not a hoarder but I’m sentimental and I take care of things. This was useable and more importantly, I had not found a replacement. Not that I needed a replacement, but when my family saw it reaching a decade, then more years, they helpfully suggested I get a new one. Perhaps because no one had probably taken the time to track the birthdays of similar items, so hearing its age caused eyebrows to raise and voices to go a decibel higher. To please them I looked at some newer ones, but could not get past the poor workmanship and grotesque patterns. Or the inferior material inside and out. Or that the glass was aka shiny plastic. The one I had was well made, neat, chic, and fitted almost every one of my favourite brands. So no, I was happy with my century old companion.
It was Christmas of 1991 that my youngest sister ran up the steps of my house and handed me a present. I wondered where she had found a gift I did not already possess. For years I was indebted to her until a chance conversation revealed that the gift was really from an older sister. And little wonder I had not possessed one like it – she had brought it back from the Philippines. It took a while for me to come to terms with the new association, but the old gift remained a constant. Loyal through summers and winters, sunsets and dawns.
Today it happened. The most critical part shattered. I gazed at my red lipstick case, my enduring supporter of 22 years come Christmas, with three cracks on its shiny face. A perfect isosceles triangle divided neatly into 90 degree angles by a thinner crack in the middle. No longer will it tell me if my lipstick needs touching up. Or if my T-zone is oily, without the danger of a deformed lip staring back at me, or a sliver puncturing my fingers. I turned the case upside down, and the triangle assumed a different look. A tepee with the thin line extending above the vortex where the sides met.
“Don’t throw me out,” it seems to beg silently. Nostalgia grips me. “If not for makeup I can be used for Math, or Social Studies.”
I needed no urging. I snapped the button in place and laid the beautiful lipstick case with its oriental pattern embroidered neatly on the sides, into my treasure box. Next to the Canadian penny.