By P.T. Dilloway
I take one last look in the mirror. For a moment I don’t recognize myself. Earlier that day I spent a hundred fifty bucks (with tip) at the beauty parlor for the stylist to give me a perm and dye it red. Neither was my idea; I let Maddy choose my new look for me. She had run a hand through my straight brown hair and said, “It’s so boring like this. You need some flair.”
I could have pointed out how straight and brown her hair had become in the last year, but she would have countered she was already taken. So I kept my mouth shut and let my daughter talk the stylist into the perm and red hair. Not a carrot-orange red or rusty chestnut red, but a deep burgundy, like a glass of red wine. When I asked Maddy why that color, she said, “Red is so passionate and it goes really well with your natural skin tone.” That was a nice way to say I’m as white as a ghost.
I touch the wavy red hair now and wonder if it really does give me some flair. It certainly is different. So are the clothes. I wear a short black jacket, short black skirt, white blouse, and tall black boots, all designer labels. Those weren’t Maddy’s idea. I bought them about a year ago with the credit card of a dead man. The outfit is gorgeous, fit for a movie star, a far cry from the faded T-shirts and torn jeans I usually wear.
I’ve done what I can with the makeup to cover up some of my natural skin tone. Although it’s been a year since an experimental drug known as FY-1978 changed me from crusty old Detective Steve Fischer into young Stacey Chance, I still can’t put on makeup. Tess has tried to teach me, but most days I don’t wear more than lipstick if I can help it. Tonight’s effort doesn’t look too bad. I’ve got a little pinkness to my cheeks and some definition to my eyes and lips. Maybe I’m not ready to pose in Playboy, but at least I don’t look like a kindergartner finger-painted all over my face.