Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Face Time

Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend probably never actually lived with a girl. And if he did, he wasn’t paying close attention to anything she did.
            Because as someone with too much experience in the matter, I’m here to tell you that a girl’s best friend is, in fact, a mirror.    
            “My God, look at the bags under my eyes!” Amanda moaned the other morning as she stood in front of the hallway mirror and scrutinised her reflection.
            Next to her, Saffy put her fingers to the sides of her eyes and pushed back till her eyes narrowed into slits. “I need a face lift. Look how my skin is sagging!”
            “I just don’t understand it,” Amanda went on, “I put on an SKII eye mask every night!”
            “I wonder how much face lifts cost,” Saffy told herself. “Probably more than I earn in a year. Do they give bank loans?”
            “I should get these bags sucked out.”
            Just then, Air Saffy landed in the present dimension. “I’ll go with you to a plastic surgeon, if you want.”
            “Really?” said Air Amanda who had also just touched down at Airport Reality and was now taxiing down the runway.
            “Jean just had a face peel. We should visit her tonight in Serangoon and see what she looks like now. If it’s any good, we can use her surgeon.”
            Later that evening, just as I was sitting down to a new episode of ‘Scandal’, the front door burst open. Saffy and Amanda poured through the door like persecuted wombats, wild-eyed and accountably gorgeous.
            “Oh. My. God!” they both said the moment they saw me. I couldn’t tell if the visit to Jean had been inspirational or a complete nightmare.
            “I need a drink,” Amanda murmured. She headed into the kitchen to make herself a gin and tonic. Saffy opened the fridge and pulled out some leftover coconut cake.
            It took some time for nerves to settle and voices to drop down from hysteria.
            “It was awful!” Saffy said, her bosom trembling.
            Awful!” Amanda echoed. “It was more frightening than…than…last season’s Prada!”
            Apparently, the girls had shown up at Jean’s with high hopes that their old friend would provide them with just the excuse they needed to visit a plastic surgeon to correct their various facial flaws.
            When Jean opened the door, Saffy screamed. Amanda, who went to a Swiss finishing school, was more decorous. She stuck a clenched fist against her mouth and sucked in her breath.
            “Aiyoh, you, ah!” Jean said. “It’s only temporary, lah!”
            “What happened to you?” Saffy gasped. “I thought you had a face peel!”
            “I did!”
            “But you looked like you dipped your face in acid! It’s like a horror movie!”
            “That’s what a chemical peel involves. Chemicals!” Jean sighed, stepping aside to let the girls in.
            “I’m sorry, but I can’t look at you,” Amanda said, pulling out her sunglasses from her handbag.
            That’s what a face peel looks like?” Saffy asked. By now, she’d gotten over her initial shock and recovered her composure. She bent closer to inspect Jean’s red, blotched skin. “You look terrible!”
            “You know, it’s a good thing we’re good friends,” Jean told Saffy. “Otherwise, I’d be so insulted!”
            “How long are you going to look like this?” Amanda asked. From behind her black sunglasses, she stared straight ahead at a point above Jean’s head.
            “A week or so. I took MC. The doctor says it’ll scab slightly and after that, the skin will be snowy white and smooth and blemish free!”
            From the look on the girls’ faces, Jean could tell that they weren’t holding out much hope on that front.
            A thought occurred to Saffy. “What if it doesn’t?”
            Jean frowned. “Why wouldn’t it? This is not the first time anyone’s done a face peel, you know.”
            “Yes, but still…” Saffy trailed off, her vivid imagination filled with images of a horrifically disfigured Jean wandering around NEX and scaring all the children.
            “Does it hurt?” Amanda asked.
            “Not really. It just itches. My sister had it done too, and you should see her skin. It’s flawless!” Jean radiated a calm confidence.
            For days, it’s been all Saffy and Amanda have been able to talk about.
            “I’m not sure I want to get my eye-bags sucked out now,” Amanda said at lunch.
            “Yah,” Sharyn said. “S’kali your doctor suck out a vein and your whole face collapse, lagi worse, ah, I tell you! I suggest you keep your eye bag!” she advised sternly.
Just then, the waiter moved. Distracted, she turned and caught her reflection in the restaurant’s mirror. She tilted her head slightly to the side. And stared.


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