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Mascara Dreams, Leaden Realities

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she sighs and everything
stops. her heart is heavy with his carefully chosen
nauseatingly
leaden words of fate.
her stomach churns with vitriol longing to escape,
longing to wound as she has been wounded,
to stab, to suffocate, to devastate
his pristine, perfect heart.
but she swallows her spite,
and smiles falsely, sweetly,
all aspartame words and syrupy clichés:

"Don't worry.
It doesn't matter.
It's better this way."

she turns away, tears leaving black trails
of glossy mascara
--she applied it oh-so-carefully this morning--
down her face.
a screaming signpost:
"Look here! My heart's been broken!"
it shouts, startling people passing by.

all illusions gone,
she knows he can hear her suppressed sobs,
but she wipes her cheeks free
and composes herself.
since one must always keep up appearances.
heartbreak gone from her clear face
retreating into her eyes, even as she conjures up a smile:

"Oh, me? I'm fine."





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