It must be hard to be an older woman.
You still get dolled up, make up on, nice dress and matching shoes. You look nice. And yet nobody will give you a second look. Stares are only to see through you. They are looking at the young woman sitting behind you, playing with her already too short skirt. The time it takes you to get ready only increases with age. Your finest pearls and red lips seem to take all morning. Anything that was once gravity defying has been pulled down and then hoisted up again through the confines of a beige wonder bra with unusually thick straps and a small stain. Your face is now connected to your neck by a gradual slope of flesh. You had a jawline once. You check your watch. It’s only 10am. Your errands are almost over. You check your flip phone to see if maybe your daughter or grandchildren have messaged you a ‘good morning’ or some sort of other pleasantries. You sigh as disappointment nestles in between grief and annoyance. There are no messages.
All of this effort for a grocery shop. You did feel slightly more confident as you left your catacomb of an apartment. Dark and empty, sitting despairingly disparaging on the second floor of a semi-detached house. Since your pension stop coming in it’s been hard to pay bills. Crows feet have become your life, bat wings a home and varicose veins your best friend. Every 6 months your treat yourself to a new lipstick, always the same shade. You have about twelve of the same colour. No. Thirteen.
Don’t worry. I notice the splash of colour and it compliments your skin tone perfectly. After sixty years of trying different shades you have hit the mark. I notice your white patterned dress, matching purse and shoes. I notice you shake a little when you open your phone. Every time I look at you, I see more of myself. Looking at this time-altering mirror I realize that I have become afraid. Self-conscious. I tug at my shirt just to make such my breasts are still in the same place. That they haven’t descended into the abyss of my stomach region. I look at my legs and crinkle my nose in disgust, the blue of my veins have already started peering through my translucent skin. Still, at 26 years young, I am insecure.
You see me looking at myself and I catch you smiling, as if to say, “I remember how hard it was to be a younger woman.”