This is the ninth part of a fiction serial, in 751 words.
With her twenty-ninth birthday days away, Gillian wondered what to buy herself as a gift. It wasn’t as if anyone else was going to give her anything. One morning as she brushed her teeth, her face in the bathroom mirror provided the answer. She would buy herself a professional makeover, and get her hair done.
Fifteen minutes on the computer later, she had found a mobile beautician who claimed to be able to do everything she needed, and booked an appointment for four that afternoon. Having it all done at home meant she didn’t have to go outside, and tolerating a stranger in her house for a couple of hours was okay if she did a good job. With that arranged, she went up and had a bath and shaved her legs. The woman had mentioned waxing, but that sounded painful.
Mandy arrived with a lot of gear. A big box of make-up, scissors and brushes for the hair, as well as a portable hairdrier that had a big hood attached. She looked about forty, and had tattoos up both arms. “Shall we do it in the bathroom, darling? Easier to get all the hair up after. I will do your hair first, then sort out your fingernails and toenails. After that, you get a professional make-up job. You haven’t been looking after yourself, have you my darling?”
It seemed to take forever, and Gillian was hungry by the time it was over. But she had to agree with Mandy that the change was remarkable. “You look like a different woman. Get some nice clothes on, and I will take some photos for you on your phone, darling”. When she told the woman she didn’t have a mobile phone, Mandy shook her head in disbelief. “No phone? Oh my days, how do you even cope? I can’t imagine not having one”. Gillian paid her by cheque and thanked her, agreeing to call her in future when she needed any beauty treatments.
She hadn’t mentioned that she couldn’t put any nice clothes on, as the only ones she had didn’t fit her anymore.
With no time left to cook, she ordered a Chinese meal to be delivered. While she waited, she looked up mobile phones on her computer. She could buy a phone with a SIM card that let her add as much credit as she wanted. No need to go to a phone shop, or go out to top up the card. It could all be done by telephone or online.
When she had eaten the Chinese, she got back on the computer and ordered the phone. Then she did some online clothes shopping, buying a few nice bits and more everyday clothes in two sizes larger than those she had in her wardrobe.
At least her shoe size hadn’t changed.
On the late news that night, there was a feature about blogging. It was becoming really popular, a kind of online diary about your life, or about anything that interested you. A way to meet people with the same interests as you without having to actually meet them other than online. And you didn’t have to go out. Gillian decided to sleep in her new make-up. Mandy had said it wouldn’t stain any bedding or clothes, and would last a long time until removed.
As she felt her eyes closing, she was thinking about that blogging thing she had seen on the news.
After breakfast, she looked up how to have a blog, and was surprised to discover it was free. She put her details into the online form which was private, but then they wanted her to have a username and a blog name too. That would take some thinking about. She would decide after lunch.
There was no way she was going to use her real name. For one thing, Gillian was so old fashioned now. She had been named after one of mum’s aunts who had died before she was born, and hadn’t thought much about her name until she went to secondary school and was the only one called Gillian in the whole school. She had liked a girl called Stacey, and wished that had been her name too.
So when it came to the username, she picked ‘Staceydarling’. Then she had to think of a name for the blog. It took a while, but she smiled as the perfect name popped into her mind. She typed it in the box in capital letters.