Early in the morning, and she’s already been up for half an hour, writing. Her eyes show it: glazed light blue icing, or are they dazed? Slightly bloodshot, with puffy fleshy bags underneath her lower lids.
She remembers when the bags underneath her eyes, rare and only after long bouts of studying or handling petulant babies, were smooth. But now, lines are etched at the bottom of the puffiness. They won’t be as visible after she washes her face with cold water and walks briskly in the fall air, but still, they’re always there now.
She counts about ten light freckles on each side of her face and smiles. Her daughter’s nickname at camp had been Freckles. She turns her head from side to side, wondering why she still has them at this age. But it’s a warm New England October, and her skin is rosy from a sunny weekend. Maybe freckles just pop out during sunlight, like flowers on a spring morning.
Her eyebrows rise as she scrutinizes the rest of her face. The arches are nicely shaped, but losing color; they used to be a dark brunette, now she even has to pluck an errant gray eyebrow hair from time to time.
Her lips press together in annoyance. They’re puffy too, and her mouth is punctuated on either side with a short deep line, like a long comma or no, better yet, like the sides of a parenthesis. Do they have a name, those sides? Probably. But it doesn’t matter.
For some perverse reason, she likes the idea that what comes out of her mouth is always parenthetical.