“You look pale.” My boss leaned over the computer terminal to examine my face. “My daughter says pale is the new ‘In’.”
I looked pale? I felt worn out; like a whole entourage of clients had squashed out my innards. Work was hectic, more than usual, and the anxiety apparently was flushing out my features. Self-consciously I reached up to touch my waxen glow-y complexion.
Do I look sick? I mouthed to my coworker while making a demented fish face. She vigorously shook her head, but all ready I was calculating the cost of picking up a tube of tanning lotion on the way home from work.
“My boss told me I looked pale today,” I informed Matt that evening.
We were sitting in McDonalds polishing off the last remnants of Greasers — that’s Big Mac and fries — while discussing the cultural implications of ordering a Big Mac over a McChicken. It also presented an opportune moment to drop my woes on him.
“How does my skin look?”
“Flawlessly vibrant,” he replied loyally.
He slid from the booth — his philosophy exposed in bold serif font across the front of his red t-shirt: HARD WORK NEVER KILLED ANYONE BUT WHY TAKE THE CHANCE? — and momentarily returned balancing a tray with two coffees and a couple of baked apple pies.
As we dug into our dessert, a gnarled finger reached over suddenly to grasp my shoulder. “I’m sorry to interrupt, dear, but — you look just like a movie star.”
A bent older woman with a heart shaped face and freckles splashed across her nose had approached our table. She now clasped her knotted fingers over mine and was inspecting me with startling adoration. “Dear, you do.” Her head bobbed. “Why, you look exactly like that actress. The resemblance is uncanny! Katherine…”
This was the second time my face was placed under scrutiny today; I looked like a movie star though, a Katherine? I grinned like an idiot under such unexpected reverence as my mind considered the possibilities: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Catherine Bell, Katharine Hepburn, Catherine of Alexandria …
“… Katherine Heigl,” she pursued, “from Little House on the Prairie.”
“I think she means Mary,” Matt whispered. “You kind of do, with your hair pinned up like that.”
She gave my arm a final affectionate squeeze before hobbling off with an older man who sported a large furry moustache; she and her gentleman companion debating the ‘astonishing resemblance’ as they trailed out the door.
Matt twisted around in the booth. “Hey, what about me!”
[So in case anyone is remotely interested, apparently I look a bit like Mary Ingles, or Katherine Heigl, or the Katherine Heigl from Little House on the Prairie, if anyone is familiar with that one, albeit a paler version. Found a new word for you, Edgar: loquacious. Freshly read in Rolling Stone.]