by Jeanette Cheezum

I heard the wishes of my mother once while she put on her lipstick, mascara, and darkened her eyebrows, not knowing then I would hear this repeatedly for the rest of her life: “When I die you must make sure my eyebrows and eyelashes are perfect, not left white.” I paid attention to the details of her ritual each day, so when the time came I would not let her down; these were not the things a child should have to think about. When I left home and we didn’t see each other, the makeup thing was mentioned rarely — although still tucked in the back of my mind. Then one day I got the call no one wants to get... my mother had passed away. Oh, my God, I fell to my knees, I should have been there, not at work — oh no, the makeup. I arrived at the funeral parlor prepared with everything I needed; stood next to her and wept, making such a mess — then started over because I knew it had to be perfect.


Jeanette Cheezum was a finalist in the 6S "Mixed Drinks" contest. She is a member of the Hampton Roads Writer's Critique Group.