God and Lipstick … by Ms Paige Turner

02/02/2020 // by Jan Moran Neil

God and Lipstick

My first day! My first client! Oh, my God.
And her completed form tells me she’s eighty seven.
I’m giving her Bubble Bliss Heaven. Number
sixteen massage on the Client Care List. I say, “I hope
you have a lovely stay. Is your lipstick
Max Factor? Or X Factor? Let’s make a start then.”

She lies on the bed, all quiet like, and then
I’m thinking, it’s like stroking a post mortem, dear God.
I say, “You’re wearing such a pretty lipstick.
And why not? Just a number, isn’t it, eighty seven?
You’ve done well to get to that age. I hope
I get to that age. Head up a little. Yes, just a number.”

Then she croaks, “Shall I tell you a story about a number?”
And I say, “Oh, I love a story. Go on then.”
And then she says, “It’s a Story of Hope.
It’s a Story of how I wish to meet God.
It’s a Story about not just being eighty seven.
It’s a Story about a Consignment of Lipstick.

“In the days of release they gifted us lipstick
and to us it meant we weren’t just a number.
My number was A, two, six, one, eight, seven.
I had been a number, you see, up until then.
We were women who had never seen our faces or God
for years. We had forsaken hope.

“That ruby red stick gave us not food but hope;
we were just hollow women wearing lipstick.
I couldn’t be sure, you see, there was a God
or if there was, was I to Him just a number?
I had been a number, you see, up until then.
I was A, two, six, one, eight, seven.

“And now I’m eighty seven.
And I’ve learned to make friends with hope.
It gave a female corpse the thought that then
she might meet God with a slash of lipstick
on her sealed mouth. A mouth with a number
and no name. Just Lipstick and God.”

It’s then I notice it. Oh. My. God.
She’s in Room Seven. The VIP Gold Star Suite number.
Hope she won’t report me for mentioning her lipstick.

For 75th Anniversary of Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. To hear me reading this it’s bottom right hand corner on the Home Page of my website.
‘Birth of an Idea’ workshop/Thursday 19th March at 7.45 pm. Email me for details.

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