Lipstick by Helen Fremont

She wouldn’t wear lipstick until she saw him again.  It was a vow she’d made to herself, to make him come back.  All the girls at the Rest Center wore lipstick; girls from every corner of the continent.  Pink smudges on every coffee cup.  The men were young and gangly, eyes full of the ocean, faces eager, hungry.  Fatigues, fresh-scrubbed and bleached dry by a pale Roman sun, hung from their shoulders like playtogs.  They roamed the Rest Center looking for cuddles, laughter.  The front was moving away from them, and they were resting.

Published in Harvard Review, Number Nine – Fall 1995