I wear my dead sister’s lipstick.
She always told me that she was a princess of a faraway land, and she had journeyed here with our parents to watch over a gross, scale-y little sister that the kingdom couldn’t bear to look at, and had exiled the family as a result.
They had many enemies, and an old and kindly witch they had met on their travels gave my sister (who in the story was always the most beautiful maiden in the land) a small tin box of different lipsticks. One made her invisible, so she could travel without being noticed. Another let her breathe fire (this was the state I usually found her in), and so on and so forth.
After she died, I discovered the tin box with all the lipsticks (all of them used, though some only once or twice, and others worn down to stumps of colored wax).
At long last, her powers were bequeathed to me. I began to wear them around the house when no one was home, testing out the invisibility one in particular, standing before the mirror to disprove my existence. The fire-breathing orange was one of those worn to stubs – and anyway, there was no one to fight with, anymore.
There was a purple, plummy one I liked, though I can’t remember what power it held, but it delighted me immensely when I would leave an almost perfect lip stain on a glass of water.
But the red one was the one I truly loved. Just looking at the tube made me love it for the richness of the color, but when I put it on I remembered things I had no business remembering – the Roaring Twenties and mint juleps, leggy cigarette girls and men in pinstripe suits and fedoras. The Belle Epoche and Paris – Hemingway’s whisky and Picasso’s cigarettes and Parisian lights all along the river.