After Belinda


The same week Arnie was laid off from his job at the coffee shop, his girlfriend moved out. Neither event came as a surprise. While he knew he would not miss his job or his girlfriend, he found himself at loose ends. He had been telling people that he was a barista but who was he kidding. He wasn’t Italian and he just poured coffee into disposable cups. As for Belinda, his ex, he was done with her months ago. When she confessed, in tears, that she had a another boyfriend, he didn’t let on, but it was, problem solved. That same night she packed a bag and left. The apartment was littered with her things.

Arnie was not a sociable guy. He had only left the apartment once since Belinda walked out four days ago. He had made a quick run for basic groceries at ten o’clock the second night. He had been with Belinda for almost a year and he could smell her perfume in the sofa. He liked that. Even though he was forgetting her face he liked the smell of her perfume. She had left a lot of her stuff in the bathroom cabinet and he planned to spray a little more of her perfume around when the scent faded.

He was not looking for a job, fortunately he still had money stashed away from three years ago when his mother died, his father had died years before and there was inheritance. He tried reading and started several books, but he was having trouble concentrating. He watched movies. The phone rang a few times but he only recognized one of the numbers. He picked that one up and it was an old college friend from out of town. The friend said he would be coming in for a business meeting and wanted to set up a dinner. Arnie said, it was good hearing from him but he lied and said he would be out of town and it would not suit. They agreed, maybe another time.

I guess it started when he was looking through her things in the bathroom cabinet. He put on some eyeliner, shadow and mascara, then he just stared at himself. He began to think of himself as someone else. He found some blusher and he added it to his cheeks and it made his face appear more narrow. Adding light pink lipstick, he was fascinated by what he saw. Arnie knew he had a lot to learn but he took a large mirror and the makeup to the dining room table and fired up his laptop. For the rest of the day, he watched Youtube instruction videos on makeup effects.

To complete the effect he would need a wig. For starters, Arnie cleaned his face and made a quick run to the Goodwill Store. He was surprised by the selection and quality. He clearly could not try them on but, at seven bucks a piece, he bought three.

Arnie was fine featured without a lot of facial hair. The next morning he shaved twice and trimmed his eyebrows. The rest of the day, he worked on his face. When he added the brunette wig he was transformed. Arnie was no longer, Arnie. He knew that he would need to purchase some dresses and shoes. It would be a bit awkward at first but he decided that he would wear jeans and a sweatshirt with the wig and makeup, then try on clothes until he liked the look.

Later that night he added an “M” to his name. Over and over he practiced writing, “Marnie.”

04/24/2017 © Don Lehman