Observing Acquiescence

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Category: V Rating: G
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Disclaimer: No names are mentioned. However, to be on the safe side — characters within are the sole creation and property of CC, 1013, etc. No infringement intended.

Summary: She’s going out again.


She’s going out again, he can tell.

She used to break down and cry before she could even finish putting on the eyeliner. It’s been a long time since she’s done that. Instead, there’s a deadness in her eyes to replace the tears. The hope inside her has dwindled to a pinprick on her conscience, a small butterfly beating its wings against her heart. It is better to pretend there’s no such thing as hope at all; it’s such a foolish waste, and she’s nobody’s fool.

So the kohl glides on richly, unhindered by the wash of tears this time. She can no longer afford them. She looks at her son in the mirror, perched behind her on the edge of the tub. He sits in silence as always, watching with interest as she brushes on the dark eye shadow — so much darker than she ever wore it with *Him*; *the* Him, the man who was his father. The boy knows this is true because he has made it a practice to sneak into her room when she’s away and Grandma is sleeping, and dig the box out from beneath the bed. Pictures, dozens of them, some containing himself, but most having either his mother, a dark-haired man with hazel eyes — or both — scattered into a mess of memories. She looked beautiful in a different way back then, in her black suits and practical makeup. He goes there and visits with these memories whenever he feels lost.

She’s meticulous with her makeup on these nights. “Date night,” Grandma had told him before, then smiled a smile that never reached her eyes. It has become a ritual to watch his mother brush on the loose powder and swipe on the lipstick, curl and twist her auburn-and-honey tendrils and slip on high-heeled shoes.

“My little man, keeping watch over me,” she once laughed and tousled his hair.

It was fascinating for him to watch, he, a twelve-year-old boy learning the mysteries of woman. More than that, it made him feel like he was taking care of her somehow. Lending his silent support. He sensed she needed him.

By the time she’s finished, she never looks like his mother. This time is no different. She passes her hand over a cluster of bottled perfume and selects one with amber liquid inside, shaped like a heart. He notices there’s one bottle she never wears for any of *them*, the Nameless ones she never mentions, never brings home. It’s a plain bottle, clear with a small label. He smelled it on her
only once, when he couldn’t sleep for the sound of her soft sobs coming from the next room, the box’s contents spread out over the bed telling him how she’d passed the last hour or so.

He stood and plucked the bottle from the counter. “You never wear this one,” he says.

“No. That one is special.”

“Is it from Him?” She says nothing, but her once-lifeless eyes fill up. He looks down, ashamed of himself for making her cry, then excuses himself to do homework.

She knows when she gets home her box of pictures will be in a different place under the bed.

~ The End ~