The Art of Lingering

There’s a moment I love. Well, there are many moments I love. But the one that comes to mind tonight as I sit down and type is this:

When you’ve gone out for dinner with a group of friends and you dress up and you wear heels and you wear makeup and you wear fancy jackets with fancy dresses with fancy hair and you laugh all night and buy expensive food you can’t really afford but act like you can –

But it’s not that moment that I’m thinking of.

I’m thinking of the moment afterwards, when it’s all winding down. When you’ve all gone to your own rooms and you take off the heels and you throw them under your bed because you can’t deal with packing them away. And you take off your jewellery and you hang up your dress and you take out your hair. You put on some comfortable warm pants and a hoodie (winter) or a pair of shorts and a t-shirt (summer).

But you keep your makeup on.

You drink a cup of tea and you get lip-gloss on the mug. You brush your teeth and you get lip-gloss on the brush. You brush your hair but it’s knotty from hairspray.

You blink and your eyes take a moment to open because the lashes stick together, just a little. And you sit on your bed and your stomach hurts from laughing and your feet hurt from walking but you feel better than you ever have before in your life.

Because you still feel beautiful. It’s a feeling that lingers before you wash the makeup off. There’s no one to tell you ‘you look amazing’ because you’re all alone but you want to be alone. You don’t need anyone to say ‘you look amazing’ because you already feel beautiful.

You recall the good night and then you say good night to no one. You lie in bed and the mascara is still smudged under your eyes because it never comes entirely off with makeup remover. And you feel beautiful.

And it’s the paragraph after the “the end” of a fairy-tale, the paragraph no one writes. But it’s important to you because it’s your life and even though your life isn’t a fairy-tale, with your makeup still on and your comfy pants, everything feels right.

This feeling is gone by the time you wake up, when you have to brush your teeth again and you have to have a shower to shake off the stale feeling of having a late night. And you wash your hair to get rid of the lingering hairspray and you have to scrub your face to get rid of the lingering eyeliner. And you can feel beautiful but it’s different in the morning, because it’s no longer the unwritten paragraph at the end of a fairy-tale. It’s a new day and that makes it a completely new story.

The magic is gone, and the feeling doesn’t linger. It lingers only between the time of coming home and falling asleep. The morning ruins the illusion.

Savour such moments.

Sarah xx

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