I haven’t worn make-up in a long time.

Once in a while something will possess me to go down the cosmetics aisles in the pharmacy or grocery and pick plastic cases of 4 hour beauty. I feel like a child in a room full of precious metals and gemstones: bewildered, fascinated, and sometimes blinded by the colors and plentitude. So I’ll buy a lipstick or a nailpolish. I even went out on a limb and purchased to sets of three eyeshadows. They are fun. Wearing masks can be fun as long as you let your true self out once in a while.

My dad roused me and convinced me that taking a shower, getting dressed, and going to shul was a good idea. For six days I’ll throw on something that conceivably matches and perform self-hygiene daily. For one day I’ll actually take time to pick out a nice necklace and/or ring to go with dresses only worn on special days with nice shoes and calm. And I’ll wear make-up, for to appear before the Sabbath Queen is a duty and a honor. Anyways, it’s like I said: make-up is fun, especially when you look at it from the point of view of a four year old in mommy’s cosmetics bin.

I don’t know. The lipstick is soft on my lips, hours after applied, like someone increased the saturation in a picture. Maybe the eyeshadow has remained where I applied it. Most of it has probably receded to the transient crevices that appear when I lift my eyelids. Not rubbing my eyes is a conscious task. If I turned on the light I’d probably find shimmery spots on my sheets. At least something around here looks magical.

Me? Perhaps a faerie whose glamour has long since left. Sleep, the teasing wench, has eluded me. I have been rejected by Dreams these past nights. It leads to too much thought. I feel greedy.

Once there was a girl who dwelt in the gates of Delirium. She liked it, for she could come and go as she pleased and usually people didn’t notice because she was a dabbler, and, after all, only at the gates. Then the gates became more difficult to pass through, though this was a great relief. These gatekeepers, however, were weak, and she would find herself trying out new ones. There were earnest ones and mercenaries whose credibility was dubious, but she never gave up. No matter what, she could always see in through the gates. This, too, was a relief.

Slowly, not only did the gatekeepers fail, but they began to help the girl journey slowly into Delirium. She felt herself flung in and out of the strange realm, though not always on her whim. This made certain people upset and frustrated. Their new gatekeeper was an enforcer. In the beginning he brought relief and normalcy, but soon the girl’s desire to be began trickling away, and in time, she lay with spring at the door and winter in her mind.

An assistant was brought in as a mediator. She was very nice and ambitious and heralded the return of a yearning to be again. A zest grew through the girl, a necessary life force, but she had no one with whom she could share parts of it. While she burst with life, she wearied of it because it needed someone else as well to be sated. The girl was fill with a fire that she let no one else see, for she saw herself as undesirable and saw no one whom she desired. Even if she did, she felt no point in chasing it, for she found people of this sort as elusive as Sleep.

I want to crush it sometimes. The dreams, illusions, fantasies. I don’t want to meet you (and you know who you are) because I let you corrode me. Because you distract me when the situation demands concentration. Because everyone else knows those special secrets and you are the mirage that promises to reveal them to me. Go away. I no longer want of your challenge.

So, here I am, sleepless with lipstick and desire and guilt. Sleepless because I watched yous and mes die on a grotesque theater stage before the world. Wracked in my consciousness by my half-ness and the ambitious gatekeeper whose ‘gift’ makes the world warp from my frustrations. Comforted by small kindnesses and beauties rising from the wreckage of huanity. Unity, song, belief. Calmed by the darkness that comforts me with its veil and the view granted by being awake at three o’clock am. Slowly dissipating as the raging white waters return to a more peaceful river in my mind.

’ll never escape this, will I?