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     First, she put on the foundation. Thick and creamy, it hid her bruises and erased her imperfections.

     Then there was the concealer. It covered up her dark circles, making no mention of her sleepless nights.

     The bronzer made her look more alive, hands skillfully masking her ashy complexion.

     The blush she swirled onto her cheeks, a pink more colorful than she felt. Pursing her lips, she was pleased to see it looked as though she actually had blood in her veins.

     Then came her eyes. They were defeated and bloodshot, but a swipe of liner and a brush of mascara and the color flooded in. If you didn’t know her, you would think she was just a happy teenage girl.

     And lastly, the lips. She chose a glossy coral out of the dozens she had, smearing it on to draw notice away from her chapped lips.

     Hand on her hips, she appraised herself in the mirror, a tiny pucker between her brows as she noted every single flaw. But at last, she sighed and stepped away. It would do.

     And with her armor applied, she headed out the door, launching herself into a world so ready to critique and judge.

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