The most coveted item in my mother's seafaring trunk, that stood proud in our house, was her gleaming tube of lipstick. Coquelicot red, bright as a ladybugs wing. I nestled under the covers of the big bed, and watched as she applied it in the mirror. I thought she looked like a movie star, with that color on her lips. I imagined putting it on myself, looking just like my mother.
After she left, I took the silver in my hands and felt its smooth surface. First I looked carefully at the sides of the tube. It said Maybelline in golden fancy lettering. I looked at the bottom. No 2 Evangeline. I was fascinated. Slowly, carefully, I uncapped the cylinder and placed the lid on top of the trunk. Then watched, holding my breath, as the poppy red stick unfurled from the tube. I looked in the mirror and, ever so carefully, applied the pigment. Just as I had seen my mother do so many times. I blotted my lips on a handkerchief and looked in the mirror.
Crimson painted my lips lovingly, and I stared wondrously at them. I tore myself away to carefully set the lipstick back into its little drawer, then I rushed to put on my favorite dress. I twirled in my room, and flounced about the house. I didn't hear my mother coming home until she said, "Oliver! What are you doing with that dress on? Remember what I told you about--"
She stopped at the expression on my face. My happiness, bright as a field of poppies, crashed and burned. My mother rushed towards me. "Oh honey, I'm sorry. My little boy." She cuddled me and I nestled into her form.
"But mama, why can't I wear lipstick too?"
She smiled graciously down at me. "Because you are a boy sweetie."
"But I don't feel like a boy." I said. I was so confused. My mother just hugged me tighter.
"I love you Oliver."
Many years later, i came upon an old trunk in the attic. "Mom!" I yelled, squeezing a tube of coquelicot lipstick. "Look what I found!" I stroked the faded gold lettering on the side. Maybelline.
My mother appeared in the doorframe. "Oh wow." She took the silver tube from me. Then looked at me. "You should keep it. It matches your new red dress."
I smiled, my eyes filled with happy tears. "I love you mom."