by Jeaninne Escallier Kato

Lipstick

David Moran via Creative Commons

“Moishe, darling, don’t forget your coat.” She has carefully placed his clothes on the bed, as she does for every opera night.

“And you look breathtaking, Ruth, my love.” He stares at her through her vanity mirror as if memorizing every feature on her face. “The black velvet suits you.” He swallows heavily, sweat beading on his brow.

She grins in that special way that says she wants him desperately. Applying red lipstick, she says, “The children are downstairs with your parents. I bundled them up in layers. It will be a cold night.” She turns away when the tears blur her vision. She knows he is studying her closely.

He runs his fingers down her exposed spine until he touches the top of the zipper. She grabs his hand and presses it to her powdered cheek. Her tears have left visible tracks through an otherwise impeccable layer of make-up.

A door bangs open. He runs downstairs to the children, shielding them from the inevitable intruders. She slowly slips into her mink coat. With trembling hands, she picks up the felted yellow star that has fallen to the floor.


Jeaninne Escallier KatoJeaninne Escallier Kato is the author of the childrens’ book, “Manuel’s Murals.” She has published short stories in various online journals, and her memoir essay “Swimming Lessons” is published in the anthology book, “Gifts From Our Grandmothers,” by Carol Dovi. Jeaninne is a retired, bi-lingual educator who is inspired by the Mexican culture. Much of her written work revolves around the people and traditions of Mexico. She resides in Northern California with her husband, Glenn, two German Shepherd mix dogs, Brindey and Bobby McGhee; and, one very fat Russian Blue cat named Mr. Big.

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