"I don't wear it every day. I save it for special occasions.""What? I'm not special?"
This took me aback, her candor, her openness in letting me know she wanted to be special to me. So I tried to explain.
"I wear it when I go out—to dinner or a party." This only dug me deeper into the hole."But we're having dinner." I could not deny this. A gourmet mac & cheese gratinée was baking as we spoke. It would turn out to be the best I have ever made, and yet Caitlin would deem it "burnt," she would pick at it, eat around the delectable crusty shell until I would rescue her by bringing on the salad course—which she would eat out of duty, pity, or maybe she didn't want to just sit there until dessert.
I sighed at her observation, knowing she was not going to give up, and offered, without any kind of oratorical fanfare, a half-hearted riposte."I mean when I'm wearing a party dress, high heels, super-styled hair—that kind of dressed up."
She looked me in the eye and considered my remark. She didn't want me to retreat. She wanted to win on the merits. But first she had to get me back in the game."But you look so pretty! You've got your pretty hair so nice, your pretty earrings. You're pretty, so you should wear makeup. No—you're so pretty you don't need makeup."
I smiled. Perhaps I blushed. But before I could say anything, she came back with the coup de grace: "It's a special night, because you came here, and we're having dinner. Two of the three things are happening, so I think you should wear makeup."She flipped her hands in the air, indicating the matter was done. But not forgotten. The last time I came over, she squinted at me and observed that I had, again, not worn makeup for a special evening with dinner.
And so, I am wearing just lipstick—I had no time for powder, blush, or mascara—and I feel ridiculous as I talk to the 16-year-old monitor of the afterschool program about how first grade went today. She grins unabashedly and can't keep her eyes off my rosy maw. I will find when we get home that in the haste of my last-minute decision to concede Caitlin's point, I have colored a bit outside the lines.
I take Caitlin's hand and lead her home, tell her what we're going to make for dinner tonight, while her parents are kept late at work. I wonder how long it will take her to notice that I have complied with her decree, and whether it will matter at all.
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