The children are fed, dressed, groomed, packed, and marching to school. It's the first year they are making the trip, for both of them. I wave, brushing the tears out of my eyes. They are too busy chatting with friends to notice. I close the screen door after they are obscured by the top of the hill and go back into the bathroom.
My make up is spilled across the small yellowing counter. The flat iron's green button is blinking an 'I am ready' message. Carefully, I finish applying my make up, checking for evenness. I pick up the flat iron and slowly work it through my damp hair, straightening colics out of my barely curly hair. I squint at my reflection, seeing the laugh lines around my eyes and mouth. My skin is still smooth, which is a blessing compared to the faux-sun-baked skin of my sisters'. I look professional, approachable. The soft grays and pinks of my sweater pull out the buried rose color of my cheeks. I don't wear blush because of this. When I do, I am reminded of my high school picture the first year I was allowed to wear make up. I shutter a little at the thought and then smile at how much I have matured since those long ago days.
Still looking at myself, I flip off the bathroom light and head to the kitchen. I put on my coat and pick up my new leather bag, a gift from my husband for starting my first job in five years. I take a deep breath, pick up my purse and keys, and then softly close the door behind me. It's my first day as a career woman and I don't want to be late.