Makeup for Happiness

She opens the door with a radiating smile to accompany her greeting. I see it right away against her pale cheek, under the layer of makeup and painted on beauty. A trail of black smeared along her cheek, hastily swiped away in the direction of her ear.

But the smile is still there.

She makes us drinks with a practiced hand as I train my eye away from the evidence of her tear and its corresponding sorrow, away from the story she’s trying to hide.

Instead, I accept my drink and listen as she introduces me to their other guests.

I wonder if anyone else has noticed the dark line under her foundation or if her easy laughter is an adequate enough disguise. I look towards her husband too, smiling on the couch as his wife entertains. I wonder if he has had tears of his own today, only they’d be easier to hide without traces of mascara.

“We have an announcement.” Her words interrupt my search of her husband. All attention is drawn to her.

Immediately, I assume divorce. Immediately, I see their breakup playing out, only hours before, in this small room that now houses too many guests.

There is silence for a moment then the hint of new moisture in her eye. “We’re having a baby.”

And that’s when I remembered that tears have many origins, including happiness.