Invisibility

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You can fool yourself, but you can’t fool the mirror, she thought. Pouches under her eyes and deep crevices on either side of her mouth mocked her.

She looked away.

Like the artist considering pigments on a palette, her eyes surveyed an array of tubes and bottles. How many hundreds of dollars had she wasted in a fruitless quest to appear youthful?

Too many. Β Hope springs eternal…

Once beautiful, she’d been a woman accustomed to the kindness of men; now she was invisible.

The anonymity of age was wounding.

She reached for the tube of concealer, hoping to recapture magic.

__________________
Word count: 100
Author’s Note: This flash fiction is written in response to Velvet Verbosity’s 100 Word Challenge to craft a story utilizing the word (or theme of) ‘quest.’ The 100 Word Challenge can be found here.

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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44 Responses to Invisibility

  1. Lucy says:

    Good one, Sister Grime. I don’t look in the mirror any more. What bothers me is that photo I found months back on the internet that is a picture of me at her age of about 18-20. I have it on my private blog. I hate looking at it. It reminds me that I my body is growing old. Sad story. Nicely done. Lucy

  2. orthodoxmom3 says:

    Ah…. this hits home! I try not to spend a fortune but it IS tempting…. there are some days that age hits me hard as I look in that mirror…. this month is hard….always when one is stressed one notices more things to stress oneself! LOL

    • Kate Loveton says:

      The best mirror is kindness and humor. I have a friend who on first notice does not appear anything but homely. However, the more time one spends with her, one notices her beautiful and bright smile, her sparkling eyes, the way her face lights up with interest when you’re speaking to her. She’s a beauty – and has the beauty that will never fade. πŸ™‚

  3. Deb says:

    I feel this way every morning as I dart past the mirror!!

  4. markbialczak says:

    There’s no concealing what we think of ourselves, Kate, and that is what you captured in your 100-word prize package.

  5. Kate Loveton says:

    Thank you for commenting! She was a sad lady, and her problem was not cosmetics. It was her lack of self-esteem that caused her to hope for impossible things – and try to recapture them via cosmetics – or probably any other avenue she might have pursued like plastic surgery. Trying to recapture the past is a fruitless quest. πŸ™‚

  6. Margaret says:

    Ditto John Flanagan and Willow 1945 Never used much make up myself, that in itself can give an aging effect when you have fair skin. Great piece of writing though, for those that lived a life of using cosmetics,

  7. gpeynon says:

    Brilliant, but a little close to the mark for me, thank you very much πŸ˜‰

  8. W. K. Tucker says:

    Yep…I know all about the invisible thing. But I have no wish to turn back the clock; I had my day in the sun, and now it’s other young ladies time to shine. Men are just lucky we don’t place their value on youth and beauty.
    Touching story, Kate.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Kathy – absolutely about turning back the clock! As life goes on, one better have lots of interests outside of one’s appearance or the goodies it may have once brought – otherwise a person will be doomed. I think of poor Marilyn Monroe; what would her life had been like had she lived past the age of 36?

      Thanks for your comments! πŸ™‚

  9. willow1945 says:

    Very touching, Kate, and well done! Yes, the quest for youth–I think youth is to be found by keeping our hearts and minds young: then people think we’re younger than we are, but better yet, it’s a great way to enjoy life!

  10. “…hoping to recapture magic.”
    A fine offering, Kate, but it has always bothered me why people bother – let us age as we are, warts n all so to speak, and as far as i’m concerned put the cosmetic industry out of business.
    Thank you for this
    Best to you
    john

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi John, this lady’s problems go deeper than the array of tubes and bottles on her table. She’s on a fruitless quest. If you don’t have anything in your personal arsenal but a youthful appearance, you’re doomed to future unhappiness. The cosmetics industry isn’t responsible for that; our weak hearts and minds are. πŸ™‚

  11. We soldier on, concealer and / or anything else that feels good.
    This is an every-woman’s story. Made me smile because this is the truth. The hardest part is the invisibility. Excellent writing, Kate. ❀

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Tess. I felt sympathy for my character, but also a bit of annoyance. She soldiered on, but fought the wrong battle, I think. One can’t recapture the past, but one can fashion a brighter tomorrow.

      I think that’s why I admire women like Maggie Thatcher, Eleanor Roosevelt and others I can’t recall off the top of my head. I like that their appearance did not define them.

      Their smarts, humor and compassion did.

      Thanks for the lovely compliment on my writing! πŸ™‚

      • Maybe to each her own. I have embraced what I see in the mirror because I can’t fight it anyway. I let who I am inside speak for me. In the beginning it hurt to be invisible and then I decided I didn’t need other’s mirrors, only my own. ❀

  12. Helen Espinosa says:

    Simply beautiful!

  13. sknicholls says:

    That was beautifully written, Kate. I stopped wearing make-up about three years ago at a little over age fifty. I want to age gracefully and I think naturally is the best way to do it. Since I stopped wearing make-up, I actually require less moisturizer. I’m not packing mud on my face every morning.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thank you! I appreciate the compliment regarding the writing very much. πŸ™‚ The character was focused on her makeup, but she had more problems than her concealer and the lines on her face. She lacked self-esteem, and that is why her quest was to recapture the past rather than try to make a good present and future for herself. Her hopes were of the vain (and I don’t just mean cosmetic! πŸ˜€ ) variety.

  14. When I grow up, I want to write like Kate.

  15. I always get a kick out looking at a picture of myself five, ten, 20, 30 years ago of myself. I remember who I was in that shot and how I felt about myself. Of course, I wish I was “that young” or “that thin” something like that. I reckon 10 years from now I will look at shots of me taken today and think I was pretty young looking πŸ˜‰
    Fun post–it makes you think.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Oh, Cindy, so true, so true! I was so hard on myself when I was in my twenties and thirties! As I left my thirties and have moved onward, I realize I was pretty darned good looking back then! LOL Beauty is relative, I think.

      When I wrote this piece, I had in mind Vivien Leigh’s character in ‘The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.’ A fading beauty (as she was in her other role, Blanche Dubois) who had been used to the kindness of men and unable to relinquish the attention it once provided her.

  16. Oh, Kate, how perfect. As an older woman, this hits so close to home. Especially – although not in my case – if you were a beauty whom men were drawn to (think Angelina Jolie) and you had become used to the attention. You do become invisible when you get old. I hate it! And you really can’t avoid it! πŸ˜‰

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Angelina Jolie is a smart cookie! Beautiful but aware there is more to life than beauty. She’ll be just fine as she grows older, I think.

      I think there is a case to be made for all individuals, not just women, growing invisible with age. No so for Betty White, though! πŸ˜€

  17. stacilys says:

    I absolutely love, but love this Kate. Physical beauty is sooooo fleeting, and we women try so hard to keep it.
    πŸ™‚

    • Kate Loveton says:

      This is so true. Better to place one’s heart on things less transitory. Um… Proverbs? πŸ˜€ Thanks for commenting; I’m glad you enjoyed it. You’ve touched on this topic yourself, haven’t you, in your blog? See, I pay attention!

      • stacilys says:

        Hahahahaha. Yes, I have touched on this. Although I have to confess, I still struggle with trying to reach perfection. I actually wrote a Haiku recently on it. I think I’ll post it at the end of the week.
        You’re so funny. Glad you do pay attention, my friend.
        πŸ™‚

  18. Great post which captures the way we look at aging. The writing is beautiful.

  19. Excellent stuff, Kate!

    They say that youth is wasted on the young and it is only when we are old that we realise how lucky we were back then. How many women have done just this and spent hundreds on trying to recapture their youth?

    I loved it! ❀

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi friend, so glad you enjoyed the short piece. It’s sad that the woman in this story is so obsessed with yesterday. This was a tale of self-esteem, I think. Had she focused her value on things other than her appearance, perhaps she wouldn’t be trying to recapture the things belonging to yesterday. πŸ™‚

      • I totally agree. It’s sad to think that some people value their worth in life based on how they look. It’s only when such things fade that a person realises that they are so much more than just a physical apperance.

        You managed to pack a lot of punch in so few words. I loved it! ❀

  20. Mark Baron says:

    Fantastic, as always. I’ve missed your words these past few weeks, my friend.

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