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Blood Red

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I remember once, about ten years ago, I had a short-lived relationship which ended when my boyfriend broke up with me because he wasn’t in love with me. It was my first experience with being dumped, and I didn’t take it very well. We tried to remain friends for a while, and at one point, I remember he picked me up from work. I had painted my fingernails a dark, dark red color, and the minute I got into his car, he saw them and said, “Been in a dark mood lately?” That memory is inextricably linked in my mind with being dumped.

Today I’m wearing blood-red lipstick even though it’s a normal workday. I like the color. It stands out and makes my face look pale and serious. My lips look like I just took a bite out of a living thing. I was staring at myself in the mirror in the bathroom at work this morning when I realized the connection between my lipstick and the dark red nail polish of ten years ago.

This weekend, I was once again relegated to “just friends.” I think this is the fourth time this has happened with us, in six years. I realize I’m not bitter about it, the way I have been in the past. I don’t blame him, really. It can’t be easy knowing I feel this ambivalence, and with the fact that we haven’t been getting along very well lately, it makes sense to me to end this. I probably would have done it if I was stronger.

But I do feel depressed, and defeated, like curling up in my house with my head under some pillows. I feel no desire to tell anyone or to seek comfort. My only comfort, right at this minute, are my blood-red lips. I can’t quite explain it, but I feel like wearing this lipstick always. It takes itself seriously, it won’t be fucked with, it’s the opposite of ambivalence. Like the fingernail polish, it knows what it is, and maybe I feel like when I wear it, I know who I am, too.

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