This is what came into my head after reading the Daily Post – Writing Challenge: The devil is in the details. It doesn’t have all that much description after all, but I’m just trying to make myself write. Here it is:
A slender woman walked into a restaurant. As she grasped the shiny brass door handle, she noticed how rough and dry her hands looked. She thought of all the tubes of hand cream she’d buy, use once, and then discard because she found it impossible to do anything with slick greasy fingers. She quickly ran her fingers through her hair, awkwardly tugging at a tangle in the ends of her dark brown hair, long overdue for a haircut. She made a mental note to look up a hairdresser on the Internet, but knew she’d just end up letting another year go by. She wished she’d arranged to meet her friend outside, or at the park, so they could have walked to the restaurant together, rather than having to walk in alone. As she scanned the room, full of elegantly dressed twenty-somethings, she wished she’d worn a different pair of jeans. A brand name even. But who can beat $1.99 at the thrift store? She remembered how proud she’d been as she paid for this pair. Now she just felt shabby. They were a dark, dark blue, but that was the only really good thing about them. The cut wasn’t quite right, and if she tucked in her sweater they looked dangerously like a pair of mom jeans. She pulled on the sleeve of her sweater, suddenly feeling exposed. How long had she had this sweater? Could it really be ten years? It was her favorite sweater, three stripes of slightly unusual greens. But she loved it and it looked good on her, regardless of its age. Every pulled thread and fuzzy bump grew huge as she waited for someone to notice her and show her to a table. Glancing at tables of women with Kate Middleton waves, smooth make-up, and overly pumped and glossed lips, she felt very plain and dowdy. “Appearances aren’t important” she reassured herself, and believed it – life is far too short to worry about split ends and mascara- yet she rubbed the toe of her boot against the back of her leg trying to erase the suddenly all too apparent scuff marks. When had those happened?
At last a waiter with slicked back hair came to show her to a table. He had very neat eyebrows, waxed probably. He gave her a quick look up and down, but it only served to make her feel unattractive and old. She thought of the increasing number of gray hairs in the mirror each time she brushed her hair and felt old. Maybe it was time to try hair dye. But then there were those awful stories about people who’ve suffered an allergic reaction to the dye and have their head swell up to the size of a watermelon. That was bound to happen to her, even though so far in life she’d not suffered a single allergic reaction to anything. But you never know, do you? This restaurant was far too trendy and young. It had artwork for sale hanging on the walls. Nothing she couldn’t commission from a five year old. “Will you be dining alone?” It took her a moment to register that the waiter had spoken. She always missed it whenever someone spoke, or else she couldn’t catch what they said and had to get them to repeat it, often more than once. She’d never been able to hear people well.
She picked up the menu — a single sheet of thick, homemade looking paper, written in an obscure font, surrounded by motivational messages — and tried to read it, but one eye focused on the door. Where WAS her friend? The other eye floated past the list of locally-sourced ingredients that practically came with a map coordinate so you could see the exact row from which a particular carrot had been yanked. She hated this kind of place. The seat was hard and the tables were too close together. She looked instead at a couple sitting at the next table. Was she staring? Gosh, maybe she was. They were just too perfect looking. Maybe it wouldn’t be so vain to get Botox injections? She looked young enough until she smiled, then her face became a terrific mass of lines. She really should stop sleeping on her side. That crease in her left cheek was getting worse. “Have you been here long?” Her friend had arrived. “No, I’ve just sat down. Haven’t even picked up the menu yet. It’s lovely here, isn’t it? I love this kind of place. I’m so glad you chose it,” she lied.