When I finished breakfast, I took to Facebook for my rescue mission. I asked simply,
“Ladies, What’s the first thing about makeup every girl should know?”
While I waited for their responses, I started googling every fashion show and personality I knew (or had pretended to know) apart from Kim Kardashian. I wished I had paid attention to all those girls that rambled on and on and on…all those evenings I was forced to watch E! with an ex-girlfriend or the other in exchange for the freedom to watch my football matches uninterrupted. I vaguely remembered something about a “smoky eye effect”. So I searched Youtube for videos on getting that smoky-eye. I settled for one by a blond-haired guy called Chad.
While the video was buffering I rushed over to girl-next-door’s house. Honestly If I could avoid it I would…she always had eyes for me and had tried unsuccessfully to get me to stay more than 15 minutes in her apartment alone. I knocked twice before I saw the curtain draw close. It took another 10 minutes before she opened the door, and I was more than surprised to see her answer the door in a bath towel.
“Ekene. I wish I could say I wasn’t surprised to see you here”
“May I come in?”
She assessed my request with a naughty smile on her face. That I would agree to come into her place, no- that I would invite myself in when she was in a towel…that would be a most fortunate turn of events. For her.
“be my guest. To what do I owe this special appearance?”
“Tinu, I need your help”
“I need to watch you do something”
She glanced down at the towel around her body
“I need to watch you make up” I clarified.
“oh…” she responded, clearly deflated.
“you’re just in time. I just had my bath”
She shut the door behind me and walked straight to her dresser. Why hadn’t I noticed the dresser before? It stood on the west wall, so it caught the sunlight as it wound its way across the sky.
“isn’t the sunlight bad when you’re looking at the mirror?”
“no actually. Sunlight is the best light for makeup. You get to see yourself as you really are”.
She picked up a round dish with some foam inside.
“brown powder. I’m not using any foundation today cos it’s sunny. Normally I’d go for a MaryKay 500”
“I’m sorry?” I asked, totally puzzled.
“you need the powder to control your sweat. Some foundations don’t stay well on oily skin like mine and you can sweat through them”
“so all those girls that never sweat just have good ‘foundation’ on? I thought they had great skin”
She threw her head back, laughed and shook her head.
“of course. Foundation provides a base for your other makeup so it doesn’t run off or look garish like some Gothic Lady gaga”.
Okay, what next?
In 45 minutes she walked me through using eyeliner, mascara to make the eyelashes curl, lipstick BEFORE lip-gloss, and how only light-skinned people should use blush (or “rouge” as she insisted on calling it by its proper name).
My mind kept darting back to that Chad Thornton makeup tutorial that must have finished loading no matter how poor the connection was. I got up to leave and she walked me to the door.
“how can I say thank you Tinu?”
“oh, $100,000 in my escrow account wouldn’t hurt at all” She said, and we laughed.
“so, why are you so curious about makeup again?”
Dang. I didn’t even think of a cover story before taking the lesson. Of course if I mentioned Sotonye, she would go ballistic. Tinu has never thought kindly of any girl that held my attention more than SHE did.
“There’s this story I’m writing. And I need to make it sound more authentic- you know, more believable”
“Ekene! You’re always writing. I always see names like B-wizzle, Jerry Chi, FigTree…but how come I never see my name there? When are you going to write about me?”
Na wa o. Sometimes I wonder if my writing isn’t a curse afterall. I opened the door and stepped out to the verandah.
“Well, Tinu…when something major happens, you’ll end up in my stories, I promise”
“Thank you darling” she said and reached up for a hug.
Or so I thought. As I received the “hug” I suddenly felt oily lips on mine, a tongue pushing hastily to part my lips. I know I should have pulled back; I tried to reject the kiss but my body was numb. I needed a distraction if I would stand a chance to escape. I tried to think about the Chad Thornton Video I was returning to, but nothing worked. After 27 seconds, I heard the distinct sound of someone clearing their throat.
We instantly disengaged and I looked for the source of the noise.
It was Sotonye.