“Routine” By: Genevieve Mills

Wash your face. Scrub away yesterday’s dirt and last night’s tears. Use your fingernails to claw dead skin away and the hottest water you can stand. Has the pain woken you up yet? Put on foundation. Two pale stripes across your cheeks like war paint. Blend it to cover the scar on your forehead from when you were eleven and rode your bike without a helmet for the first time. Cover the unevenness of your skin and mix it into a flawless mask. Make sure to wipe the liquid over your temple, where pimples sprout from the oil left there by nervous fingers playing with your bangs. Wipe the stick of concealer over the dark smudges beneath your eyes. Don’t let them know how damn tired you are. Cover the angry red spots that always appear on your chin.

Powder now. It decreases shininess—your hair should be shiny but not your face. You’ll have to reapply it later in the day if you sweat because we all know women shouldn’t sweat. Fill in your eyebrows so the arches are sharp. Prime your eyelids, prime yourself. Paint lines around your eyes to bring attention to your glare. Give yourself razor-sharp wings. Bring metal tongs as close to your eye as possible, don’t catch the skin, and clamp your eyelashes between them. Coat your lashes with mascara and make sure it’s waterproof, tear-proof. Who knows what the day will bring? Outline your mouth so that your frown stands out. If they tell you to smile go ahead and bare your crest-whitened teeth at them. Color your lips in dark red so that they will leave marks on your coffee cup, so that your kisses stain. Are you ready?


Genevieve Mills recently graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor’s in French and English. She is a new writer.

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