Lipstick by Abrar AlShammari

He’d drive to work every morning,

wearing his crisp-white dishdasha,

perfectly-ironed ghitra,

after combing his wild hair into a presentable manner,

kissing his perfectly-pious wife, 

and two energetic boys.

He’d drive to work every morning,

park his prestigious Porsche in his personal CEO spot,

march down to his office, too good to say good morning to anyone.

He’d formally ask his beautiful secretary to give him his agenda for the day,

all the while not even making eye contact with her.

Words leave her mouth, and he asks her to say them again – he didn’t hear her the first time.

She does, and he asks her to repeat them once again, straining his ears this time,

telling her his understanding of Lebanese dialect is really quite poor,

and he finally lifts his gaze – maybe he’d be able to make out what she was saying if he watched her lips.

He hears sounds this time, but he still has no idea what she just said.

Her lipstick tells him exactly what he wants to do that day,

and he asks her to step into his office to explain his agenda.

He’d drive home every afternoon,

wearing his ruffled, lipstick-stained dishdasha,

his suddenly unkempt hair back to its natural state,

topped with the ghitra he had picked up off the floor of his office,

he kisses his trusting wife,

plays with the boys who think he’s the ideal father and husband,

complains about the cold lunch,

even though his wife had prepared it an hour ago, when he was supposed to arrive.

He asks his wife if she had left the house that day wearing all that make up,

She tells him it’s only lipstick, and he insists she never wear it in public again,

he doesn’t need scandals in his house.

He takes a nap after his daily machboos,

throws his socks and dishdasha on the floor for the maid to pick up.

One day his pious, trusting wife saw the lipstick stains,

and wondered how it was that lipstick was a scandal in his home,

but not in his office.

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