“Look up,” she says, and dabs her orange makeup sponge against the soft skin beneath my eyes, rubbing her concealer into the crease where the beginning of my nose meets the cinch of my eyelid. I look up at the popcorn ceiling of her bedroom, afraid that if I look at her, I might laugh accidentally and she might scold me.
Her eyes stay set on my skin, fingers wrapped tightly around her sponge, as if she were writing a poem to a lost lover in the hollows beneath my eyes. She dips her brush into a plate of dark gold glitter and runs it gently against my cheeks. She turns away and then looks back at me. This time her hands are empty.
Without warning or invitation, she presses her fingers against my forehead, her pinky touching the coarse strands of my eyebrows and her thumb resting on the top of my head. Her long black fingernails meet the edge of my hairline, and I ask, “What are you doing?”
“You have a big forehead,” she says, so matter-of-factly that I can’t possibly deny it. I have never considered my forehead big. Now I feel inclined to apologize for its size, as if its largeness is some sort of inconvenience to her—too big for her pretty eyes to look at.
“No one’s ever said that to me before,” I say.
She picks up another brush. “It’s okay. You have a big forehead and I have a big nose and that’s just how it is.” I don’t think her nose is big, but I don’t say anything because I suppose I should be angry at her—offended or disappointed or surprised that she called my forehead big. But I am not, so I keep my head tilted upward, looking at the bright light hanging from her ceiling as she presses her brush against my skin, writing her poems on the edges of my eyelids and the curves of my cheeks.