Taylor looked at Lisette closely as she went through the statistics of her report, the white face, the smooth, expensive cream that covered it, the soft dark eyes, and long lashes curled by a touch of mascara, the thin nose and elegant jaw line, the thin lips that look like no lips, drawn with peach lipstick and the thin silhouette that swayed back lingered in hatred between Taylor’s mind and stomach as she left. Hair always done, her nails always shining in a flawless French manicure, the Coco Mademoiselle Chanelle she always wore in Taylor’s nostrils like an insult. Looking at her, Taylor saw a whore who couldn’t admit it, and she delighted on how life would come down on this twenty-two-year-old that still believed in success, on how white women aged faster.
Credits, credits, credits. Would you like to apply for a wow card. Take an extra twenty percent off. TWENTY PERCENT! Washing her face in the women's room, she could see them all, the managers in the morning meeting with their big smiles, hooras and hoorays, the tight faces, phony high fives and fake smiles that made her wish she was dead. She looked at herself in the mirror, the short, close cropped blonde hair, the angular eyebrows now leaving a wrinkle between them, the dark, sharp eyes, held by cameoed-creases of fatigue, the even nose, the big, round ears and thick lips. She felt the goblin of ugliness creeping up on her today as she considered wearing more makeup on her way back to fix up her department. Then two O'clock struck, and she had to sit and listen to the childish instructional video. She did it with almost complete nonchalance and participated half-heartedly to the question-answer games eager to get back to her department where Sandra, there for the mid-shift, greeted her. At her post, a film of associates at other departments greeting each other, making small talk and being alert, moving, ready for prey, danced in her retina.
"Were you on break?" Sandra asked her.
"Wow! training," Taylor answered.
"WOW!" Sandra exclaimed.
"You'd think we're in kindergarten."
"Just another day in Wonderland."
Tall and skinny, Sandra had the kind of honest face that often betrayed her bitterness, but she smiled like a little girl. A simple and neat woman, her short hair reached to her temples and her skin always looked fresh, clean, her clothes crisp even after she'd worn them consecutively. She had been working at the store for fifteen years with the kind of ethic to make sure the department was always clean, that store policies were always followed, and her sales suffered from it. Always by the book. She could stay too long with customers who would pester her continuously without looking for a way, a gimmick, out of it. Fifteen years working the same position and never promoted. Never wanting a promotion. Maybe she lacked the teeth but bless her kind heart. Taylor loved her, admired for the qualities she could not seem to develop to this extent, qualities altogether weak and noble… Mature. No, Taylor had a backdoor to her stockroom.
"Ready for another under-quota day," Sandra said with that look that Taylor has gotten to know so well, her lips curving down where her face carved two dimples on either side of her cheeks. Disgusted, peaceful, sarcastic. She had aged well, signs of childhood still on her face.
A customer stopped at the edge of the department, but someone from the Lauren department quickly introduced themselves and snatched her. They let it slide.
"That's the great thing about working here," Sandra continued. "It makes you soooo forgiving."
Darryl Wawa is a Port-au-Prince born Haitian-American who studied Photography and Creative writing. He enjoys chocolate and good books. That said, maybe a movie is a good book. He loves to work with images and words and their pairing.