“What do you think about this color?”
Excitedly, I held up a Maybelline eyeshadow pallet of three different shades of blue showing my friend, Donna.
“It’s perfect! I think that’s the same color Debbie Gibson wears.”
Donna was a huge Debbie Gibson fan. Me, not so much. I was more of “The Bangles” kind of girl.
“I’m going to buy it!”
Donna was searching through the twenty shades of lipsticks that was scattered in a plastic bin on the bottom shelf.
“What do you think about this pink?”
A lovely shade of frosted pink lipstick. Donna could pull of the pinks, me, not so much.
Between the pink lips and blue eyeshadow, this is what the 80’s were made of.
“Do it! We will look at least sixteen!”
And there we were. Donna and I sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle in the drug store that occupied Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, Va.
At 14 years old, Donna and I were only recently granted permission from our parents to start wearing makeup.
We each paid for our purchase, after doing extra chores around our respective houses to earn the money. Quickly, we made our way to the food court where the less crowded restroom was. At the counter, we empty the contents of both our purse and shopping bags. Donna had the face powder but I had the eyeliner. Donna was even able to get a bottle of foundation from her older sister. Between us both, we would be set.
Set for what, I am not sure. We were good girls. Neither one of us were allowed to date, yet we at least wanted to have the opportunity to tell a cute guy “No, sorry, we are not allowed to date.” What can I say, that is the logic of fourteen-year-olds back in the late 80’s.
With a heavy hand, blue eyeshadow and pink frosted lipstick were in place. Confidence as our third wheel, we made our way to “Mother’s Records.” A popular store back in the 80’s that sold albums and cassettes. Also, all the cute guys would hang out there.
I took out my Charlie perfume from my purse, gave us both a quick squirt.
Into Mother’s we go. Slowly, making sure we made an entrance, just in case any cute guy was watching.
Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” was playing as Donna and I slowly made our way up the aisles. Our hands gracing the covers of all the new releases.
NWA “Straight Outta Compton”
Metallica “And Justice for All”
U2 “Rattle and Hum”
And my personal favorite Guns N Roses “Lies” that brought us their number one hit “Patience.”
When we would spot a cute guy, Donna and I would linger, looking over an album, reading the track list, even if we had no idea who the hell the singer was. Anything to get the attention of a cute guy.
Donna and I never got the attention of any cute guys that occupied Mother’s Records. Unless you count the time we had our slutty friend with us, then she got the attention, but we will not count that.
However, what we did leave with, aside from the latest Guns N Roses and New Kids on the Block tape, we left with confidence. We know we looked good. Blue eyeshadow and frosted pink lipstick, with a scent of Charlie to leave our mark.
I am in the makeup aisle in Fred Meyer. Imagine Dragon’s “Thunder” is playing over the speakers. I am waiting. Patiently waiting. My daughter, Gracie, she is on a mission. I have no idea what exactly this mission is but she is on one. She is snapping her fingers to the beat of the song, which is more of an autistic thing than a music thing. I can tell, she feels nervous and rushed even though I am making sure to give her her space to find her perfect color.
She does not even like this song. I know this because it is one of the very few songs I will turn up on the car radio as I am taking her to school.
“I love this song!”
“Well okay then, it will be over in two minutes!”
I am watching her from a safe distance. Making sure to give her space, yet not too much space.
“Not a yes-sir, not a follower
Fit the box, fit the mold
Have a seat in the foyer, take a number
I was lightning before the thunder”
She is looking at all the colors. Taking them all in with her almond shaped brown eyes. In my day we had twenty shades to pick from. Now there is only ten.
Gracie is snapping along to the beat of the song. Looking at the colors. She is snapping her fingers with her right hand, while her left hand is following suit, only this time on her leg. Following the exact beat.
“Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning then the thunder
Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning then the thunder
We are running short on time. I only have twenty minutes before I have to pick up my youngest daughter, Sofia. And, trust when I say this child will not forgive me if I am late.
“Gracie, what about this color, this is a nice pretty brown.”
Gracie is still snapping along to the song. In her own world. She has tuned me out, she has tuned everyone out. This is how Gracie works.
“Kids were laughing in my classes
While I was scheming for the masses
Who do you think you are?
Dreaming ’bout being a big star”
Just as the song finished, Gracie came out of her zone.
“Screw it, let’s go big.”
I quickly contemplate if I should tell her that we should not use the words “screw it” but thought this was an ideal time to pick my battles.
“This one. I want this one please.”
Gracie picks the brightest, boldest red there was.
“Okay, are you sure? This is the one you want?”
A new song comes one. Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.” Gracie is not interested in this song.
“Yes Mom, can we go now?”
I take the lipstick from the very hands that was just following along in perfect beat to “Thunder” a song that she does not like.
“We can, I think this is an amazing color!”
Gracie and I make our way up to the register.
“Mom? Did you ever wear red lipstick?”
Quickly I take out my wallet while being mindful of the time. I look at my oldest daughter with a newfound confidence in her eyes.
“Well, I was never brave enough to wear red lipstick, but I totally rocked the blue eyeshadow.”
Gracie looks at me, almost in disbelief.
“Really Mom, blue eyeshadow, how old are you?”
I took my purchase from the cashier, much the same way I did when I was fourteen years old, back at Lynnhaven Mall.
“I am old enough to know, just how important it is to leave your mark, whether it is blue eyeshadow or red lipstick, we are meant to leave our mark.”