On Thursday morning, I was getting ready to go out early when I looked at my dressing table, and the walls of reality cracked. I was suddenly caught staring through the veils of the everyday, confronted with evidence of the Other.
The eyes of the watchers, all fixed on me. Proof positive was right there before my eyes.
And I was thinking… That can’t be right.
Thinking… But that’s impossible.
Knowing that something had been here, moved here, done something here.
And that it sees me.
Here’s the whole story.
There are some things in China that can be hard to find. Even in Beijing, even today. One of these things is dark lipstick. I don’t mean pink or orange or any of the tamer or more electric shades – I mean the colour of blood, of red wine. The only colours any self-respecting, ex-Goth horror writer should have. Which for some reason, Chinese gals generally don’t like enough for makeup counters to typically carry. So every time family flies out here or I fly back west, I make sure to get hold of a fresh tube or two.
When my dad came out last October, he and Debbie gave me a real stunner and it since spent every day of its life nestled happily in my bag of the day, rubbing up against my compact where it belongs.
On Wednesday morning, I flew out of the house in a great big rush. I got into the centre where I work, and as I was riding up the escalators I did the usual face-check, and I distinctly remember one-handedly opening my lipstick, my compact, and putting some on before going in to face my boss and whoever else would be floating around the office. I slid compact plus lipstick back in my bag, into the usual pocket on the side. And that was that for the rest of the day.
Come evening, I decided to head to a bar near home for a few drinks with a friend. On the subway, I moved to do the usual quick evening face-check before seating myself at said bar before friends and acquaintances. And… no lipstick. I couldn’t very well dump everything out on the train floor, so I held my horses until I was off the train and walking through the back-alleys to the bar. At the nearest well-lit public restroom, I nipped inside and emptied everything out on the sink. Bag, pockets, inside out – nothing. Gone. I knew I’d had it at work, memory proven by my lips, which were still slightly stained (it’s that damn good). The only thing I could figure is that since its ‘home pocket’ doesn’t close snug-tight, it must’ve fallen out when I slung my bag under a desk or onto a chair or something. I then did what years of constantly losing stuff has taught me to do: Lecture self for a minute, mourn for a minute, let it go. Walking the rest of the way to the bar, the voices in my head happily nattering comforting things at me, I started to feel a bit better.
Thinking, Well, it’s a loss for sure, but not the end of the world.
Thinking, The Universe is watching, it knows what it’s doing. If it thinks I shouldn’t hold onto these things, then so be it.
But because I really do believe the Universe listens, I thought I’d give it one last try. And as I passed one of those creepy little zig-zag alley turns that the Chinese put there to trap ghosts, I focused for a second and sent a message out.
Please, if at all possible, return it to me!
I met my friend at the bar, lamented the loss with my naked lips, had two glasses of wine with her, went back home.
I woke up yesterday morning with the slightest touch of a hangover, threw myself in the shower, scurried through my wardrobe, gulped back two huge mugs of Rooibos tea, went to my dressing table to grab my rings when….
There it was. Sitting next to my jewellery box, between the perfume and moisturiser.
The lipstick I last held in my hand when I was going up the escalator to work.
I didn’t really know what to do, except to whisper a quick thank you, put some on, and head out into the realms of reality outside!
I’m thinking I need to go and light some incense or something.