This week's prompt word is MASK:
3. a : a protective covering for the face
b : gas mask
c : a device covering the mouth and nose to facilitate inhalation
d : a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infective material
e : a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries
My effort is called Valley Girls Episode 4798.
Valley Girls, Episode 4798
The adverts arrived. That would have been 15 minutes, Doris decided. She tucked her thick, white nails under her chin and slowly, carefully, started to peel away. She wanted to keep the mask intact, like a peeled apple skin that winds back into the perfect fruit.
Ralph glanced over and huffed. He felt giddy watching his wife taking off that thing – it made her a ridiculous mannequin, dead except for the eyes. She would usually have commented on Jean’s terrible behaviour in Valley Girls – Jean was always trying too hard – but Doris couldn’t speak. So Ralph had said something. It wasn’t right. He sighed. He didn’t like change.
Doris felt the flaky paper pull away. She hooked it around her jaw, up her cheeks. She imagined her wizened face being gently lifted away, leaving something wise and worn, but smooth and elegant. Valley Girls started again. She kept creeping her fingers underneath, keeping her old, ancient face whole. She listened to Jean from Valley Girls. She was behaving terribly again. Marcus the painter was never going be with her. She was being a fool. Poor Jean, suffering the same as every woman. Doris should be kinder.
Ralph said, “Are you watching this or not?” His voice was low and faraway, childlike. He didn’t look at her.
Doris laid her old face on her lap. It was creepy, staring at the dirt and little grey hairs. Doris patted her own face with her fingertips. Yes: plumper and firmer. Softer. She hadn’t expected that. She settled back smiling and finished watching Valley Girls. She didn’t comment on Jean’s silliness.
When the credits rolled, Ralph groaned out of his chair and shambled over to his wife. Already bent, he slid his glasses up his nose for inspection. Doris closed her eyes.
“Well. You look exactly the same.”
Her eyes shot open. “No change at all? Oh, Ralph!”
Ralph shuffled towards the kitchen. “And that’s the way I loved you yesterday and will tomorrow. Tea?”