Mac, Lorraine’s live-in boyfriend, had disappeared. Maybe he was out there (doing his so-called job) selling used magazines, but more than likely, he was hiking somewhere in Montreat with a woman he had picked up somewhere. He’d be back, surely, when he got hungry. 

Chubby chocolate pillow from Scotland…won’t make you fat! $47

Lorraine was sitting comfortably in the wingback chair in her living room. She took another sip from the china tea cup of coffee and thought about Mac. He could be very charming and he could make her feel very special and loved, but he was like the wind. She never knew where he might be tomorrow. He left her feeling almost dizzy with his mixed messages: I love you I love you I love you, but I am keeping my apartment in Asheville. 

The main thing, though, were the other women in his daily life. One night they were at an art opening at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts and when Lorraine was ready to leave she searched around and found him deep in conversation with a tall, attractive woman. Mac was leaning in towards her as was his style, locked in eye contact, and she was all aflutter, clearly believing that he was coming on to her. Lorraine approached them and burst the woman’s bubble when she announced, “Mac, let’s go home now. I’m tired.”

The woman shot Lorraine a sympathetic glance and scuttled away. 

Lorraine decided it was time to get her day started; she rinsed out her coffee cup, and went into the bathroom to get washed up. She switched on the light and stared at her face in the reflection of the magnifying mirror. “Ugh,” she said out loud. “You are a mess.”

Lorraine had always been meticulous about grooming, and she kept her hair dyed glossy black and her make-up fresh and flattering. Mac had made a big deal about her paying such attention to her clothes and make-up, so she had let herself go grey and stopped caring about her appearance. Now she regretted all of it. She looked even older than her late seventies. As she thought about it, she realized that people had stopped acting amazed when she admitted her age. She looked like a crone. Her eyebrows were wild and stray black hairs stuck out on her chin and upper lip. No wonder Mac was already straying this early in their relationship. 

She searched in her vanity drawer for her tweezers and went to work on the mess of her face. The sink was soon speckled with short black hairs. She turned the bathroom drawers upside down and uncovered her make-up mixed up with aspirin bottles and laxatives. She applied some expensive foundation and went to work with her pots of color and brushes. Much better! She liked what she saw! Then she went to the phone and called Emily at Beauty Parade to make an appointment for cut and color. 

Mac could do whatever he did, but she owed it to herself to feel good about her appearance. She couldn’t allow anyone to make her feel bad about herself. She felt better already and decided to take a little trip into Asheville for some retail therapy.