Christine and I, Nova Scotia bound, had packed pants, tees, underwear, hiking shoes. Creams and cosmetics of course. But these necessaries failed to get off the plane. Baggage Officers consulted computers. Our suitcases, napping in Boston, would soon hurtle to Halifax. We could track them on a website.
Our hotel room provided toothbrushes and toothpaste, but nothing emollient.
“Underwear,” moaned Christine. “Could you wear yours again tomorrow?”
“My self-esteem is shaky enough.”
It was closing time. Department stores shut their doors in our stricken faces. At Souvenirs we grabbed bikini panties that proclaimed ‘Halifax Cutie,’ Large-Man shirts for nightwear, and Blue Jays caps.
After dinner we fell upon the hotel computer. Our bags were at liberty in Philadelphia.
By morning they’d reached Atlanta. Chris sniffed under her arm. “This won’t do.”
We bought one new tee apiece. Then we explored a city architecturally so rich we forgot our deprivations. That night we washed our first day’s washables. By morning they were only a little damp. Our bags? Captiva.
For several days our rotating wardrobe dried on our backs while Halifax won our hearts—its harbor, mansions, Citadel, museums. The public garden band played “Pretty Woman”.
We surveyed each other. Hair hidden within baseball caps, faces scrubbed and scentless … we resembled 12-year-old boys with wrinkles.
“Let’s stay like this,” I suggested.
We shook hands. “We’ve retrieved our essential faces,” Christine crowed.
“Lovely To Look At,” the band commended.
But that night, “Ladies!” called the hotel clerk. “Surprises upstairs!”
Our suitcases, fresh from Tucson, rested on racks. We snubbed them. In our now beloved nightwear, we went to bed.
At midnight I abruptly sat up. Christine had unzipped her suitcase and was kneeling before it in the moonlight. She dug out a jar. She anointed her visage. She turned to me a face of moisturized shame.
And so—not to abandon her—I reached for a tube. I slathered its contents on neck and brow, and resigned myself to beauty.
In the morning I discovered that I had used all of Chris’s custom-blended foundation—$40/ounce.