What is it about hotel bathroom mirrors?
Is it just me that finds them big and oddly lit and completely unflattering?
Don’t get me wrong, there are so many wonderful things about staying in a hotel. Swimming in the pool, watching TV while lounging on the cushy beds, and eating at restaurants – what’s not to like?
And while the bathroom was lovely at the hotel we stayed at this summer, the morning after we arrived I stood in the mirror and applied some makeup and was surprised by what I saw.
I looked quite different than I did at home.
Fine lines crinkled the edges of my eyes, while a new, deeper crease showed at the corner of my mouth – closer to it than my ever-present dimples. I looked into my reflected eyes and smiled. The lines deepened with the motion.
Fine lines. Smile lines. Wrinkles.
Caused by laughter? Tears? Squinting into the sun?
Yes – probably all the above. (Especially since I broke my sunglasses the first week in August and have yet to replace them.)
Then I noticed that my makeup didn’t smooth as easily over my skin. Is it drier? My skin always used to be oily.
‘Huh,’ I thought.
Or, in the words of David Bowie – ch-ch-changes.
Not long ago, I was looking back on some old pictures of me – taken when I was 21 and had smooth-ish skin (minus the aforementioned oily T-zone,) long, unmanageable hair and unruly eyebrows.
I suppose there were things that were recognizable as me still, but I am not 21 anymore – so much has happened since then.
There has been school and work and changing jobs
dating and love and marriage
worries and tears
triumphs and grief
…between then and now.
In between the crow’s feet are my eyes.
They are the same shape and colour as they have ever been – although they are sometimes a little bleary from late nights and interrupted sleep.
They are different, though; these eyes have seen so much since I was 21. They have opened for early working mornings and tried to stay alert for late-night paper writing. They shed happy tears at the start of a life with David – and at each of our sons’ births. My eyes have watched fitful sleeps and monitored thermometers. They sometimes weep bittersweet tears as they mark the – almost imperceptible – passing of time.
Between those laugh lines? There is my mouth.
It has remained closed at times, timid and unsure, yet it tends to laugh just a bit too loud in a quiet room. My mouth has spoken tremulous words of conviction, echoes of support and words of love. It has laughed with silly comedies and ooh-ed and ahh-ed and tasted sushi. It has shushed shouting and kissed sleeping cheeks and whispered ‘I love you.’
Sometimes when I catch a glimpse in the mirror or in a photograph these days, I think I see a little winking something. It’s there in my eyes, framed by those new crow’s feet. And it’s in that smile, cradled by laugh lines.
A twinkle? A sparkle? I hope there is that.
Between the lines on my face there is love and life reflecting my story, my trials, my happiness. I hope it sparkles brightly – like squinting into the sun.
I wish I had a pair of sunglasses.
What has changed since you were 21? And what is it about hotel mirrors, anyway?