A few months ago, I wrote a couple of pieces of short fiction and posted them here. I got stuck on a subsequent prompt, and then I gave up…but I’ve decided to try again, in response to the following prompt from Write On Edge.

It’s time for a change in outward appearance, be it a character, yourself, or someone in your life. In 500 words or less, write about a makeover of your choice (hair, clothes, makeup, facial hair for the menfolk), fictional or memoir/creative non-fiction. Let’s think about how physical appearance changes can affect the inner landscape.

The shoes were the hardest part of the makeover to get used to, the extra 4 inches made it hard to walk. I had changed shoes for the drive home, but after I parked the car in the driveway and opened the door, I set the new shoes down and changed back.

“Clara? Is that you?” My neighbors, Judy and Bob, were standing in the sidewalk at the end of our driveway.

“Yup! What do you think of my new look?”

Judy said “Um, wow. That’s, um, really different.”

I shook my new curls at them. “Do you think Jack will notice?”

Bob shook his head and said “I would hope so, but…”

“Yeah, we all know how Jack is when he’s deep into a new program. I bet Troy that his Dad won’t notice. Troy thinks he’s going to win, and get a later curfew. I’m pretty sure I’m getting my car detailed every weekend for six months.”

I shut the car door and headed for the house. Judy and Bob waved and then continued on their walk, shaking their heads.

It took me a few steps to remember how to walk in the new shoes, but by the time I had reached the front door I was walking confidently.

Troy was sitting in the living room with his earbuds in. He was in the middle of an epic air-guitar riff, but stopped mid-strum when he saw me. He yanked out the earbuds and said “Nice makeup, Mom! And the hair. Wow. Dad is totally going to notice the new look.”

I twirled to make sure he got the full effect. “I don’t know. Your dad is pretty oblivious some times.”

I called out  “Honey! I’m home!” and then headed down the hall with Troy following.

“Where did you go?” was the muffled response.

Troy rolled his eyes. “I told him you were leaving, but he had his headphones on. I think the programming is pretty intense right now.”

I fluffed my hair and then pushed the door open. “Hey, sweetheart, how was your day?”

He didn’t look up, but said “Fine. Busy. I think I’m down to just a few more bugs.”

“That’s good. Troy said he told you I was leaving, didn’t you even notice I was gone?”

“Of course, of course, I was just joking.” He clicked the mouse a few times and then turned around and smiled at me. “How was your day? What was it you were doing? Taking a class or something?”

He was looking at me, but there was no widening of the eyes or look of recognition. I could hear Troy behind me groaning as he realized that he had lost.

Jack hadn’t noticed.

“Jack, dear. Really? You can’t tell?”

“Tell? Tell what? Did I miss something?” His eyes darted back and forth between Troy and me. Troy had his head in his hands.

“Darling, I love you, but seriously. I spent the day at the Clown College.”

I tried to think of something with a little more…depth? Seriousness? But this is what came out when I really started brainstorming. I debated about how much detail to stick in at the end, but I’m kind of hoping that everyone’s imagination will fill in the relevant details of what Clara’s makeover actually looked like. My story weighs in at 499 words, so the ending was partly a word count choice.

Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted in Fiction.


  1. Wisper says:

    I have to disagree with you in one thing – I think this has great potential to be a more “serious piece” if you choose to continue the story with that in mind. I could also see it staying more light hearted. Either way, I love the idea of her makeover as a challenge to see if her husband noticed the change.

  2. Cameron says:

    I love the twist at the end, and the interplay between Clara and Troy. This reads like those moments of near hysteria where you swear you’d do anything to get that one person to notice you.

    I love that you grabbed he brass ring and went for the big gesture here. The reaction from Jack is such great deadpan.

  3. Peggy says:

    I love the story. A perfect reaction to the none reaction. This could become a great sit-com. What is sad about the story is many people actually live this sort of life. Great piece of work.

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