I woke up yesterday morning and zombie-walked into the bathroom, only to be confronted in the mirror by a wild-haired old hag. I rubbed the sleep-grit out of my eyes and she was still there, staring back at me, frowning in consternation. I’ve been getting used to the long, jagged pillow wrinkles on the sides of my cheeks, the sword fight wounds I miraculously acquire during my sleep, but on this morning there were new signs of battle. Inch-long horizontal lines across the meaty folds of each eyelid. How could these just suddenly appear? And not just yesterday but today as well. Usually a good hot shower suffices to rid my face of the night scars, like hanging a vintage velvet dress in a steamy bathroom to gently force the wrinkles out. As long as they’re gone by the time I get to work. I’ve spent some time making various faces at myself in the mirror trying to recreate how I could have slept to produce these gouges, but to no avail. Maybe I slept face down in the pillow? Maybe I’m suddenly a masochist and stuck my fingernails into my eyelids all night. Like wearing the dental night guard and ear plugs crammed as far as they can possibly go into my ear canals isn’t masochistic enough.
Prevention? I already use some kind of anti-wrinkle, lift-up-the-saggy-folds-you-call-a-face cream. At least once during every recent visit to my parents, usually at a full table during dinner, aging eyes comes up (I have no idea why) and my dad will mention how the stars in Hollywood use Preparation H to prevent bags and droopy eyelids, and how he might just have to start doing that, too, by golly. I’m fairly sure he’s joking… I’m not sure I could get myself to buy a tube of the stuff, though, especially without letting everyone know within hearing distance why I’m buying it. It’s for my eyes! My eyes! (What’s with that name, anyway? Is it a preparation of ointment for H or is it preparing the H for something?) See how pathetic I am–I can’t even spell out the H, and not just because I probably can’t spell it correctly the first time ’round.
When I was younger I cursed my little grandmother’s genes for my freckles, which are liberally sprinkled over my face like cinnamon sugar on a smiling cookie, because they always made me look too young, at a time when I would’ve liked to appear older. Well. Be careful what you wish for, I say, because now I’m still stuck with the freckles but am also starting to look my age! Now I curse my (wrinkle-faced) mom for the genes that are causing my mouth to look like I’ve been sucking lemons for about 220 years, a perfectly preserved mummy unearthed from the hills of Peru, the furrows above my lip so deep they resemble mountain crevasses. Watch out be-loooow! And you know Hotai, the happy round-bellied Buddha with the crinkly squints for eyes? Modeled after my dad, apparently, whom has also seen fit to hand me down a few of his genes.
But enough of this pity party. It’s a fact of life, right? And the more I furrow my brow over it the more lines I’ll make.