I am a girl now. I believe I am. Full grown, made up in height for what I lacked in space and curves. I have bought make up, sets of cosmetics. But not your regular make up. Black eye pencil, brown eye pencil, dark lipstick-a receding colour of zobo leaves. All the girls in my hostel are now make up artists except me. Flaunting their roguish lipsticks to my face. I can’t tell the difference between concealer and bronzer; colour 1 and colour 2 foundation; the textures of the diverse brown powders in the market. With burrowing eyes darting to and fro the cosmetic shop, I manage to pick what I think I want.
“Shave your eyebrows, you don’t want to draw on bushy brows.” The youtube vlogger says, smiling blandly into the camera.
I shave, shave off everything until my brows are left with a strand of hair. A blade-like thing.
“Now start across from the bridge of your nose.”
I do it with a tremor to my hands.
“Make a straight line.” She babbles something. Her voice a pabble in the screen. Something between Harlem slangs and black American accents.
I draw the line. A fine diagonal. Its legs pointing towards my forehead, the side of my head.
“Now make an arc at the end. Curve it like a circumference.” She purrs. “Hereee, you got it.”
I pause the video and reach out for my room mate’s protractor. She is an engineering student and this would serve my purpose. I had never taken my mathematics classes seriously. I place the protractor on the bridge of the penciled brow, make dots on it and connect them. A fine arc comes out at the end, sitting lopsidedly by the diagonal line.
“Now do same to the bottom of your brow.”
And she smiles, flashing her teeth veneers, the plastic thing almost falling out.
“Now get your concealer…”
I had never bought them. I didn’t think I would need them. I harrumph and pick a worn out tooth brush from my locker. Its fiber bristles jaggedly like a saw’s blade in scattered zig-zag directions. I line it, so I think; smile sheepishly to my face and look into the big mirror in my room.
My brown face is a gaunt relief to the broad opaqueness of the mirror. My narrow eyes peek out from the sockets with laughing pupils. My face’s a kindergarten human drawing. I look like Madea in a spa. I laugh, a throaty one, my face folding into happy creases. I am amused and possibly glad that I didn’t get it alright.
This is how to draw eyebrows. Make fluidly thick straight lines on your face with arcs at the ends. And don’t forget to let the mirror on the wall tell you the bitter truth that beyond the coated foundations and ochre pencils are acne scars of your being. Let the mirror tell you its glossy truth, a see beyond — that bound in your interiors are folds of beauty transcending the many make-up strengths.
This is how to draw eyebrows. Dexterously squint your eyes and open it to the blinding truth that you can still be beautiful in rags.
Make a diagonal line and draw an obtuse angle at the end.