Hearing somebody tell you that they love you is one thing; knowing their palms start to sweat when you smile at them is another.
—It’s Been A While Now (k.p.k)
I love lipstick. I want to write an essay about the politics of lipstick. I like lipstick that’s deep, deep red. I like lipstick that’s purple, lipstick that’s black and dark for when I want to dress up my melancholy. I like sharing lipstick with sisters. and I laugh at boys that think I wear lipstick for them to notice, I laugh, lipstick is an art you can’t ever understand. from picking out a color, testing it on the inside of my wrist, pursing my lips during the application of it. I like when I kiss a baby and leave lipstick on their cheek, when you hug someone and leave lipstick on their shirt, when it gets on your teeth and you use your tongue to get it off, when you sleep in lipstick and wake up with it on your pillow case. in 1997 mama left for Ethiopia to see her mama for the first time in 12 years. I was six and I cried the entire way home from the airport. and when we came home there on the kitchen table was the teacup mama had been drinking out of. at the bottom a sip of tea and black cardamom seeds. and there on the rim of the cup the lipstick imprint of my mama’s kiss.
I try not to live in the past but sometimes the past lives in me.
—Jamie Ford, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet