Shane glared at his mirror, his shoulder blades pinching together, his hands gripping the rim of the sink. His eyes darted from his forehead creases to the zit on his chin to his appearing crows feet to the zit on his chin to his graying temples to the zit on his chin.
“Pick one!” he shouted at himself. His cat yowled from his bedroom at the sudden noise. Shane sighed and rested his head in the crux of his elbow. Now? It had to be now?
“It’s ‘cause you’re stressed,” he whispered and splashed water on his face. He ran his finger over the bump. It’s pretty deep in there. It wouldn’t be one he could pinch and have it disappear. No. This one was a fighter.
Marzia’s drawers in the bathroom they once shared were all but empty. A hair scrunchie, an old disposable razor. No tweezers, no zit cream, no makeup!
“I could run to CVS. No, I wouldn’t know what to get. The colors all look wrong.” He dried his face on the bottom of his shirt and left the bathroom. Maybe it only seemed big since he was staring at it.
The house was so empty, so big. His feet were so quiet on the carpet that he hadn’t vacuumed in months. The cat needed feeding, so he fed her. He would need to get more cat food soon. He fought tooth and nail for that money-sucker.
Shane paused outside the bathroom door, bouncing on his toes, then leapt in, as if he could scare the zit off his face. Nope, still there, and even bigger and redder than he thought it was.
“Okay, dammit,” Shane said. He checked his phone. One hour. Only one hour? He needed to fix this. It was so easy when Marzia was here. He would always use her concealer—they had the same skin tone. Meetings, holidays, regular Tuesdays. Since she’d left, though…
The cat yowled, there was a big clatter. Shane set his bepimpled jaw. That damn cat.
He caught his own eye in the mirror. Yes, perfect.
Not twenty minutes later and he was at Marzia’s door, cat carrier under one arm. He rang the bell, then knocked directly after.
Marzia opened the door, all six feet and three inches of her. He used to like her supermodel height, her lanky limbs that moved awkwardly like cheap animation. Now she just felt intimidating. Shane held the cat out to her.
“Please,” Shane said. “I need a favor.”
It took a little convincing, but soon he was in Marzia’s new bathroom, slathering his chin in concealer. It made him a new man. He rubbed it until it was unnoticeable.
He popped out of the bathroom. Marzia was stroking the cat on her bed.
“Thank you h…” He caught the “honey” before it escaped his lips.
“Is it for a date?”
Shane didn’t answer quickly. Marzia nodded.
“A man, then? I presume, considering….” She sighed. “Unless you lied about that just to…well.”
Shane looked down to the carpet. Freshly vacuumed. “Yes…a man. I wouldn’t have lied about that, Marzia.”
“And this is what…you want, to make you happy?”
“Yes.” Yes, for the thousandth time, yes.
“Well, okay then. It’s what you have to do, then, okay. Okay.”
The cat leapt off the bed and stalked out of the room. They were alone.
“I don’t know what to say that we haven’t already.”
Marzia’s shoulders lifted once with a silent laugh. “Me either. Me either.” She gave him the once-over. “You look good…I hope it goes well. And thanks for the cat.”
“Thanks for the makeup.”