The Makeup Artist

Tinuke was careful with Hauwa’s face. Her features looked too delicate, like her nose would break at the slightest bend or her lips would crack at the slightest push. As Tinuke carefully lined Hauwa’s small eyes, with a Dior black liquid eyeliner, she tried to imagine what Hauwa’s world looked like through them. Tinuke tried…

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Tinuke was careful with Hauwa’s face. Her features looked too delicate, like her nose would break at the slightest bend or her lips would crack at the slightest push. As Tinuke carefully lined Hauwa’s small eyes, with a Dior black liquid eyeliner, she tried to imagine what Hauwa’s world looked like through them. Tinuke tried to imagine what it felt like to be getting married to one of the richest men in Nigeria.

A man who Hauwa did not love.

Once upon a time, Tinuke always assumed that these women would be so happy that they were marrying these eligible money covered bachelors, but now, ten years into her career, she had seen too much, heard too much. It came with the territory of being a makeup artist; there was a forced intimacy required for the brief period she spent with the bride. Sometimes, they opened up and told her about the lies, infidelities and arranged marriages. Other times, Tinuke could smell the sadness, from the frosty body language between the couple during the pre-wedding photoshoot, to the sharp responses during phone calls from the bride to the groom. And sometimes on those rare occasions, those beautiful rare occasions, all was well, and there was the clean scent of peace in the air.

But more often than not, rather than rabid or contained happiness, Tinuke always saw a gentle sadness on the faces of these brides, the same sadness that covered Hauwa’s face now. Hauwa had not told her anything about Danjuma, but Tinuke knew there was something amiss. When she saw Danjuma and Hauwa together, she knew Danjuma was awed by Hauwa because of how fresh and innocent she was, and she knew that Hauwa was awed by Danjuma because she was expected to be awed by him.

There was no love.

Just awe.

Tinuke wondered how Hauwa would cope in her new life. Young, small and inexperienced, Hauwa seemed ill prepared for the life of a Billionaire’s wife. She was just 21. She was an only child. She was stuffed with submission. She was the perfect Bride.

These things, her inexperience and delicacy, would appeal to a man like Danjuma in the short term. But after a while, he would want something harder, less ethereal, more real. He would want those women who would bring out a wild side of him that Hauwa would never see – she had read the stories on The Naija Gossip on Danjuma’s voracious appetite for parties, alcohol, drugs and women. And when this happened, probably less than a year into their Marriage, Hauwa would be stuck in her mansion in Maitama, unpacking her latest her latest designer bags, wondering where her husband was, while Danjuma would be naked, in between the white fresh sheets on a bed in Transcorp Hilton, with a worldly mixed-race nimble young woman, whose body he could bend and use in any way he liked.

“I just want this thing to be over. All these ceremonies… I am just tired,” Hauwa said, barely moving her mouth or her body. She always spoke so softly, moved so softly. Tinuke imagined running her hands all over Hauwa’s body. She would feel so soft.

Though Tinuke was lining Hauwa’s lips with a pink lipliner that blended perfectly into Hauwa’s pink lips that felt like small plump cushions, Hauwa still kept her eyes closed, her eyelashes curling up to heaven. Of course, Hauwa had to be tired; this was the fifth ceremony in the elaborate wedding festivities. They had travelled from one state to another in the past two months. Tinuke had seen so much money, so much affluence, so much power, that sometimes, she forgot who she was and thought she was one of them. One of the uber-elite. One of the 0.0001% of the Nigerian population. But one look at her Michael Khors handbag, which was not in the same class as the women’s Hermes handbags, always brought her back to reality.

Hauwa crossed her henna covered fingers on her lap and then uncrossed them and held the arms of the chair, as though she was about to stand up. Hauwa then smiled, a small brief smile that was gone before it could settle properly on her beautiful face. Hauwa probably remembered something tender, something Tinuke was sure did not have anything to do with Danjuma. Tinuke wondered what it could be.

A lover?

Her ex-boyfriend?

Tinuke felt sorry for Hauwa because she knew that Hauwa would have less to smile about and more to be tired about in the years to come.

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