Now learn, my dears, the art of beautifying your faces; learn by what means you can retain your charms.
“Baby, you gotta know, those days are over.”
Baby opens a jar of loose powder, dips a brush and taps it on the side. Her face is rich in jewel tones.
“Black lace, those little pink flowers. They don’t fit you any more.”
The brush moves over her cheeks, her nose. She’s flushed and deliberate.
“I mean it, Baby. You need to get dressed. No more Vegas.”
Vegas is a spritz of Eau de Parfum. Baby spritzes.
“Come on, this is embarrassing. Let’s just get dressed. We can go out to that diner you like, get some burgers. Remember when we used to go down to the Union on Friday nights and listen to music? It’s still early, I bet we can find a good spot, watch the sunset.”
Baby checks her eyes. She runs a tiny comb through her lashes and uses her pinky to rub something away. She dabs her lips, smiles. Her teeth are so white.
“What is this all about, Baby? Come on, talk to me. You always want to talk, well, here I am. Let’s talk.”
She buckles a pair of silver heeled sandals from Macy’s pointing her foot outward, tilting it in the light. She stares at her legs and the new shape they make.
“Dammit, Baby. If you don’t want to talk I’m just going to get out of here. Do you hear me? I’m going to leave. I’m not just going to sit around watching you make a fool of yourself.”
Baby gets up watching the way her feet move in the shoes. She sways over to the full length mirror and eyes every bit of herself. She turns one way, then the other. She is very pleased.
“Fine then. I’m going, Baby. Just like that.”
She walks into the kitchen and brings out a finely tuned lemon poppy seed cake. She brings two glasses, two plates, linen napkins, silver forks.
“Awe, Baby. You did it, you made my favorite cake. You were doing this all for me.”
The apartment buzzer rings.
“Now what? I swear the people around here don’t care who they bother.”
Baby disappears into the other room. She hears him in a loud sort of whisper, “Theresa. What are you doing here?” When Baby walks out she hands him his overcoat. She opens the door wide and shows those white, white teeth.