She stood in front of the mirror, the purpose to apply the mask, to paint a masterpiece on her face for the world’s critique. First, to scrub from her cheeks the stain of last night’s tears. Next, a trip to the kitchen to retrieve the spoons she had put in the freezer earlier. Long ago she had learned this trick to preparing the canvas. She dreaded the time spent stationary waiting for the cold metal to do its magic erasing the swelling and redness from her eyes. She knew she would be fine if she just kept moving, busied her mind with frippery.

She snatched up the spoons, slammed the fridge door and stomped over to the table flopping down onto the first accessible chair. Placing a frozen utensil on each ravaged orb, she tried to focus on the anger. Anger. Yes, her old, comfortable friend, Anger. It had sustained her more than once in the past. It felt as if fate and karma had joined in a conspiracy to complicate what she wanted so to be simple. Sure, it was her own fault she was in this mess. Damn, it was hard. This was a life change. One she had not expected, planned for or really examined the full consequences of. Still, she had agreed to it.

Oh, there was no doubt that she loved him, wanted to be with him more than anything in life. Finding him had been a mission, a quest, an obsession. The vision was so much more clear-cut and crisp. Her emotional reality ever to resemble the storm, never the calm. It was her, not him. He was amazing, so perfect, all she ever hoped for. His look enough to raise bumps on the skin of her arms. His caress always caused her to gasp for breath. His embrace transported her to a place of ecstasy and release. His aura provided the only peace she had ever known. His love the safe haven she had sought after all of her life. There was no doubt she loved him.

She realized her anger had subsided and rose with a deep sigh. She leaned heavily on the sink as she placed the spoons in it. She had been on her own for most of her life. She hadn’t even had so much as a roommate since college. Turning she surveyed the material culmination of her life’s labors. She owned it all. Okay, the bank held significant co-ownership in the house with her, but she had done well by herself. The sports car in the garage and 4 x 4 in the drive; the sailboat moored at the marina, the contemporary-styled, red leather furniture, reproduction Noguchi table, mid-century modern antiques, and baby grand piano; the art hung on the walls, all originals, many of the artists past lovers; closets filled with designer labels; memberships at the country club, gym, Pilates studio, and tanning salon; the pedigree Persian cats; even the saline-fulled sacks expertly positioned under the muscle of her chest; all bought and paid for with the sweat of her brow or more accurately the prostitution of her gifts.

So what was the problem? They spent most all their spare time together and had been for months now. All the social invitations had long been coming to them as a couple. Both kept clothes and toiletries at the other’s place. He had her key and she his. It was crazy to continue maintaining two residences. Living together would make things easier, more convenient. He rented. She owned. It only made sense for him to move into her home. Didn’t it? It was, after all, the next logical step in their relationship. Wasn’t it?

Propelling herself away from the counter, she returned to the mirror. She worked quickly and examined the finished product. She had done her usual artistic job creating a beautiful façade. Still, there were no powders, creams, lotions or sprays to camouflage the sorrow and doubt in her eyes. She heard voices down the hall and knew he and their friends had arrived to deliver his belongings to their new habitat. She flashed a dazzling smile at the mirror. Yes, that should be enough to distract him from noticing the uncertainty so obvious in her eyes.

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