It’s New Year’s Day, I scurry to the restroom and swallow as hard as I can to force the sobs to in. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. I shut the door behind me, turn the lock horizontal, and shut off the light. In the darkness, I lean against the door and slide down to the cold tiles. I squeeze my palm against my mouth and scream. My yells muffled by my own hand and the loudness of the merengue playing in the background I keep going until I hear a knock on the door.
“Let me in” my cousin asks while knocking repeatedly. “I have to go!”
“Casi temino!,” I say and turn on the lights. “I’m almost done,” I command myself.
I allow two minutes. For two minutes I will fall.
Washing the lipstick off my palms, I stare at my reflection. My eyes red, lids swollen, bottom lip trembling, curls out of place, I rock back and forth with my hands holding the sides of the sink. She would tell you to breathe, I think to myself. Maybe it will help this time. Before I breathe, I clench my teeth and look at the ceiling letting the tears fall down the sides of my face. I am crying but not the good kind. Tear by tear I reach down and use toilet paper to wipe off the product of my discomfort trying not to ruin my already smeared make up. We will be taking pictures soon.
Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, inhale harder.
Oh no. It’s happening again. Quickly, I force myself to smile. Stare at my reflection and wait for the tears to stop. My two minutes are almost up. I have no choice but to stop.
After a few breaths, I use my finger tip to wipe the mascara from the bottom of my left eye and reapplied my lipstick. With the fabricated smirk I know so well, I re-scrunch my curls. Pin the fly away in place and let my cousin in.
“Finally.” My cousin says before running into the restroom, happy he just looked at me, and didn’t really see me.