by D. J. Herda
Her name was Jeanine. Or Dolly. Or Cynthia. Or Deborah. With an “h.” Or it might have been without the “h,” but then it would have had to be without the “o,” too. As in Debrah. It was just one of those mornings. One of those mornings when it really didn’t matter what her name was.
Slowly, she ran her hands along her hips, down past the satin of her tap panties, across her thighs, and then up again. She sighed and leaned over the dressing table, gazing into the mirror. She pursed her lips, sat back, and stared.
She got up and walked across the room, past the half-drawn blinds of the patio doors—not too close; she wasn’t putting on a show. Stopping by the bed, she smoothed the wrinkled sheets before continuing on to the dresser. She picked up a watch that had been carefully set out on a velveteen pad and slipped it over her left wrist. She snapped the clasp in place and looked at its face for several seconds before unclasping it, slipping it back off her wrist, and setting it gently back onto the pad.
She walked across the room, past the dressing area to the recessed tub. She reached around and undid the snaps on her bra, allowing it to fall to the floor as she bent forward to start the water. She stood up again, bra in hand, and carried it back to the dressing area, where she placed it on the corner of the table. She looked at herself carefully in the mirror, analytically. She took in every curve, every swell, every contour and bump, every spot, every hair, every pore, every nuance of who and what she was until finally she reached around to the back of her neck and, grasping her hair with both hands, lifted it up and over her head. She shifted it to her left hand and reached down to an open drawer, pulling out two ornate silver barrettes from inside. She snapped one across her hair above the base of her neck and the second higher up so that it held everything in place just so.
She slowly wiggled her skirt to the floor, stepped out of it, and folded it neatly before setting it next to her bra and, giving herself one long, final look in the mirror, reached once again into the drawer.
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