Molasses Minutes of 1989

Molasses Minutes is an off-shoot of Captain Mom's Log. This one is dedicated to my Amazing Mom. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!!! 


At Lord and Taylor
(Again)

I get to sit on High Squishy Stool while I wait for Mom to pick the right lip color at Lord and Taylor. I love looking at the plastic lipstick colors that stick out of the counter. I run my fingers over the smooth cylinders. Something so satisfying in feeling the flat angled end. I desperately want to do something with one, but it's stuck good. What is the point if you can't sample it? Or use it as a character in a counter-top play? Their uselessness mocks the artist in me.
"Can I try Pink Pearl?" Mom asks the saleslady.
Her shoulder pads are the size of my head. She looks both old and young at the same time. Her eyes are weathered and her neck is ringed with age like a tree. Her face is perfectly taut. It looks plastic. Like the perfectly impractical lipstick colors protruding from the counter. She smiles at me and it gives me the shivers.
Mom has a smear of iridescent pink on the back of her hand. She turns it this way and that. It glitters and changes color in the light. I swivel High Squishy Stool around.
I wonder if the mannequins come to life after closing time like in the movie. One of them is staring at me. I wonder what it's thinking about. My insides turn cold and I swivel back to the lipsticks.
"It's no good, see?" She shows me her hand.
It looks pretty to me.
"Too much purple."
Then she says to the lady, "How about Afternoon Peony?”
I want to Smear one on my hand, too.
"Can I try After Midnight?" I ask.
It's a deep, dark red.
"You don't need makeup," Mom smiles at me. "You're beautiful just as you are."
But I want makeup. I swivel around again.
"Would you like to sample?"
A lady with drawn-on eyebrows is standing too close to me. I try not to stare. She is holding a tray of perfume. I pick the one that is in the shape of a rose. She sprays it on me and I sneeze. I feel like a million bucks. I sniff my arm. It makes my nostrils flare.
"Phew, that's turned," Mom says and fans her hand at me.
Her nose has super powers that can smell anything. Even perfume that's gone bad. I don't tell her that I like the scent.
"Can I try Morning Lilac?" Mom asks the lady.
"How much longer?"
I swivel back around almost knocking over a display with my outstretched feet. I look around quickly to see if anyone saw, but no one is looking at me.
"Just hang tight," Mom says.
I have been promised a trip to the pet store following the lipstick perusal. It's almost not worth it. Almost.
"Well, now, that's really purple," Mom says.
"It is lilac, hun, it has purple in the name," the saleslady says.
Mom gives a forced smile.
"It sure looks pink here," Mom points to the very pink stick on display.
"Why don't you try Remember Rose?" the lady suggests. "It would go well with your complexion."
Mom and I don't like it when the ladies are too eager to sell. It usually means we have to come back for a return. Mom likes to take her time and decide for herself. I am the same way. I think every woman is.
"No thanks, how about Primrose?"
The lady obliges. Smear, rub, rub, rub. The back of her hand is now an abstract painting.
"Can we go nooooow?" I ask even though I know the answer.
"Just a few more minutes," Mom says.
If I ask enough times, sometimes we get to leave sooner.
"I liked the first one," I say.
"Hmm," she says.
I point at the first light pink shimmer.
"Can I go look at the toys?"
"That's all the way downstairs," she says.
Then turns her wrist this way and that.
"Let's. Go," I urge.
I get A Look. Sometimes if I ask too many times it's worse than if I don't ask at all and I have to sit in the same moment of time forever.
"Here," She hands me her purse.
The black leather bag flops on my lap, heavy and soft from use. I dig in. There is a bunch of loose change in the bottom. Some precious stones. Three bic pen caps. A bit of grit. Finally. I feel the roll. I pull it out and smell it. Minty fresh. I peel the wrapper back and stick a ring of candy on my tongue. It zaps me with a blast of winter air. It makes my eyes water. I hand one to Mom. She pops it in her mouth. Crunch.
I never bite mine until the ring dissolves on one side and the other side is left with a super sharp point.
I blow out cool air as the lifesaver burns my mouth. The first time I had one I cried because it was too spicy.
"I think you're right. I'll take Pink Pearl," Mom says to the lady.
Sometimes you just need a blast of freezy air on your tongue to get time moving forward.

Until tomorrow... Molasses Minutes of 1997

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