It was one of those freezing cold miserable January days. Everyone is depressed because the fun of Christmas is over and cold and flu bugs are going around everywhere and it was no wonder I’d caught it too. There was no-one at work to cover for me, so I trudged in, coat and scarf wrapped around me, and hoped I wasn’t on the perfume till near the door.
My manager took pity on me and gave me the best spot at the back and near the heater. Amy must have forgotten I work at Boots on Mondays. Or perhaps she didn’t know – my shifts do change around a bit. Anyway, I spotted her browsing over the other side and I admit, my attention wasn’t wholly on my customers. She was at the makeup aisles for three-quarters of an hour! Has she not got anything better to do? She swatched lipsticks and tested eye-shadows and I couldn’t believe it when I saw her take a basket of expensive make-up to the tills on the other side. I knew I should never have given her that fifty pounds.
It isn’t like I’m rich; it isn’t like I wouldn’t like to spend fifty quid on make-up for myself. How dare she?…..
Yesterday, I’d taken pity on my younger sister. She was complaining about how tough she and Mark are having it at the moment – struggling to pay the rent; finding it difficult to feed the kids healthy food and afford the after school club when she was working and our parents couldn’t pick them up. She’d looked so miserable, I’d offered her what I could. I’d expected her to use it on essentials, but there she was, spending it on flipping make-up!
I fumed and frowned about it for the rest of the day and my manager had to remind me to give a slightly more cheery customer service. Eventually my shift ended and I went to the bathroom before leaving. Two friends were in there and one was trying to cheer up the other. I think she’d just had a row with her boyfriend or something. As I washed my hands, a sentence she said struck a chord:
‘Put your make-up one and hold your head up – you’ll feel better, I promise.’
As I walked home I thought about this. Maybe it’s what Amy needed. Maybe if some makeup makes her feel a bit better about herself; makes her feel good in the morning and ready to face the day with more confidence despite their troubles, then that fifty pounds was well spent.
At least, I hope so.
(Mike, the guy who runs our writers’ group gave us this title one week and we had about half an hour to write a short story to go with it. This is what I came up with.)