I strut into Sephora—a large makeup store—“just to look” and come out with lipstick: matte mauve, glittering nude, a glossy green, daring, my mother claiming it makes me look ill, zombified, ridiculous. But I felt powerful, rebellious, a different me. I attribute her reaction to how the green lipstick looks compared to my Caucasian complexion that my friend Karl refers to as “pasty,” but I prefer “porcelain.”

My favorite gems in Sephora: eyeshadows and liners. Black liquid liner—if not the precise balance of pigment and liquid, will look like sticky roadside tar. It will stick to my lids and smear across the folds and creases, where eyeshadow hides after a sweaty dance. It disappears from the exact sweep I place it in the morning and by the afternoon, “sprite green” accented with “tiramisu” and “soiree” runs off to makeup heaven with one accidental rub of my eyes about 2 in the afternoon in class. Afterwards I walk with my boyfriend Alex who cannot decide whether or not my eyes are green or hazel, maybe jade or emerald with a hint of amber, or just somewhere to get lost.


Gretchen Gales

Gretchen Gales is managing editor and a staff writer for Quail Bell Magazine. She was recently honored in Her Campus’ “How She Got There” segment. Her work has also appeared in Yes Poetry, East Jasmine Review, Yellow Chair Review, and more.

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