Time requirement: 10 minutes
The world wasn’t revolving around her. Sadness could settle itself elsewhere. Not on her. Not in this house. Ellis began to chant to keep the feeling at bay, murmuring the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious for happy thoughts.
She put on her best smile and stared at herself in the mirror. This was the kind of look she wanted people to see when they came. This was the kind they needed, because she knew they wouldn’t have it. She put on foundation on her face, streaked with lines that seemed to have doubled over the week.
She felt she was too wan, so she dabbed blusher on her cheeks, and pink lipstick on her lips. It won’t do to look ill. Ellis heard noises downstairs and listened. Are they early? Her daughter in law, Stacey was giving stern warnings to the grandchildren. They were a boisterous lot. It didn’t feel right to have to stifle their spirit.
This whole affair didn’t feel right. Ellis began chanting again. She pulled her hair back, and tied it in a neat bun. It wasn’t when she was about to step outside the door and looked down that she realized she had forgotten something. It was important. She turned around to find it, and stared. That was when her world crumbled. She broke down weeping. She had forgotten to put on her black dress. It was on the pillow of the bed, on the space that was never to be filled again.