First Encounters With Makeup

“Mom, today I met a girl who blushes without blushing.”

A girl in my class came in to school with pink cheeks. She said she’d had a dance recital and her mother had let her keep the makeup on. I personally thought she was embarrassed, because I noticed that her eyebrows were brown and no longer matched her blonde hair. I assumed she’d accidentally fallen face-first into a box of hair dye. Poor kid! But when I asked her why she was embarrassed, she actually looked surprised–she said “I’m not blushing… it’s the blush.” I did not understand.

I continue to contemplate her response as I stack pancakes in the center of my plate. Breakfast for dinner, because mom is tired and I’m not complaining. I carry my well balanced meal–hah!–to the table and reach for the ground cinnamon. I lean my face unnecessarily close to the plate, and the fan in the corner of the room blows a fine dusting of brown powder onto my cheeks and across the bridge of my nose. Instant, warm, sweet freckles.

My mom smiles at me as she flips more pancakes at the stove. “Cute” she says. My dad pats me fondly on the head when he comes home from the office. I now freckle myself every morning before school. The not-blushing-blush girl asks me for tips.