This fucking brush. It is everywhere. I pick it up off of the floor not once, not twice, but seventy-thousand times a day. My daughter. She is obsessed. She thinks it is the greatest toy since Lincoln Logs. To her it is magic, mystery, and mirth, all rolled into one. It’s her talisman, her pet, her patron saint. She has, ironically, never seen me use it.
I don’t wear blush. Or virtually any makeup, anymore. Makeup is about as low on my list of priorities as a thing can be without actually being buried beneath it. Mascara is a once-a-year event. Lipstick? Bi-annual, on a good year. Blush? Once a century, at most. My cheeks are pink enough, naturally. Perpetual embarrassment will do that to you.
I don’t, therefore, care about the brush. In principle. But I do want it to stay off of my floor. Out of my face. In the drawer where it lives with all of the other items I never use but am too stubborn (or lazy) to throw away.
My daughter has other ideas. She wants it out. Eternally out. Thus, the battle. She gets it. Plays with it. Abandons it. I find it, and put it back. She gets it. Plays with it. Abandons it. I put it back. Again, and again, and again. I refuse to give up. So does she. It’s a tiny, domestic version of Groundhog Day. There’s almost a song and dance routine built in: I spot it on the floor, groan, lean down, grunt, pick it up, mutter imprecations, trudge wearily to the bathroom, sigh, place it back where it belongs, tra-la-la! Then proceed with my day. An hour later, it’s back. It’s on the kitchen floor, amidst the bread crusts and parsley flecks. It’s on the windowsill, amidst creatures, legos, and stray pebbles. It’s in my bedroom, amongst the socks, high-heeled shoes, and pile of bras that MJ pulls out of my bureau every day, wraps around her body, and then drops unceremoniously in a long, serpentine, underwire hillock when she tires of it. Because bras are also, it turns out, repeat offenders. Unapologetic recidivists. Feckless bad actors, pads and all, and nothing’s going to change this fact.
I have tried hiding it. The brush. I have put it on top of, under, and away from things. I have locked it in the medicine cabinet. I have thrown it in the closet. It doesn’t stop her. She is implacable. She finds it. No. Matter. Where. There’s a magnetic pull. She is the moon; the brush is the tides. She is Lindsay Lohan; the brush is paparazzi. She is — you get the point. She’d find it if I hid it in Hell. If I taped it to the back of the tank on Satan’s toilet she’d become evil and potty trained just so she could walk in there and grab it.
Why don’t I just throw it away? Because I want her to have it. I want her to use it as a phone, a fake food item, a pet snake, a magic wand, a tree in her creatures’ garden. I want her to pretend to brush her hair with it, to tickle Mina’s ears, to use it sweep tiny corners of imagined houses free of piles of made-up dust. I want her to have every thing she wants.
I just want her to put it back in the fucking drawer when she’s done with it. Is that so much to ask?