The lipstick around the white porcelain coffee cup leaves the mark of the woman who drank from it.  That it is deep and clear and appears freshly applied hints the anticipation ahead, the feint lines tell of the experience of the wearer and the deep red the emotions and desires.  The coffee remains at half-mast with a suggestion that there was not time to ponder over it. The relationship between the cup and the woman was short, she had little time to give.  The cup sits there now in the middle of the table deserted, unthinking, unknowing.  The cup won’t hold onto this relationship, there will be more encounters and after each, the cup is cleansed of the experience.

The woman wearing the lipstick will continue on her way, the lipstick will be reapplied and together they will leave their mark on the world.  The smile given to the child in the pram and another smile again on the next corner to the homeless man as she passes some change.  The frown at the people in the queue in front of her that cause her to miss the early train and the imaginings of the young man sitting across from her in the carriage.  All will be affected differently, but a mark will be left by the woman in the lipstick who touches the lives of the people she passes.  The woman has no idea of the tiny changes she makes in these shared moments throughout the day, how some of these experiences might linger.  Smiles can be delivered at just the right moment without any prior knowledge that the recipient is in need of that smile and a frown might add to the anxieties and stresses of those that already have enough to bear. She wears the lipstick to cover her insecurity, to hint at passion and to give her strength for what might lie ahead.  The lipstick is for her and the courage it provides, it is as important as the high heals on her feet.

At the end of the day the woman looks into the mirror in the bathroom, recalling the smell and deep voice of the man she met, she is caught in the moment.  She wonders too if he would remember the evening with such fondness and silently hopes that he does. She closes her eyes momentarily as she remembers his warm smile, the dimple on his face and the sparkle in his eye. She takes a deep and hopeful breath and removes her lipstick with a soft cloth, looking again into the mirror, the face looking back at her bare and hopeful.  She throws the cloth into the bin for the hotel cleaner to remove in the morning.


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