Sometimes inanimate objects have interesting stories to tell.
Take this perfectly normal eyeliner, which was in no way different from any other. It was manufactured and then put on a shelf of a completely ordinary Walmart, together with dozens of others that looked exactly like it. It was not especially expensive nor had an extraordinary color (it was plain black) -- it was not even put into the front row, but sat there waiting surrounded by others, which were just as likely to be sold as to be thrown out at the end of the season.
But then came a man's hand and rummaged around the shelf, finally choosing our eyeliner among the variety offered, probably more by chance than by anything else, because another man's deep voice said: "Come on, Howie, we should go before someone recognizes us!"
"Okay, okay, Kevin -- I just need this last thing, then I have all I need for the class tonight."
And because the first man (Howie) seemed used to listen to what the other man (Kevin) had to say, he took the next best eyeliner (which happened to be ours) and proceeded to the check-out, surrounded by two bulky, intimidating men.
Our eyeliner was put into a bag and didn't see anything else until its owner unwrapped it in a luxurious looking bathroom. He used the little sharpener that came with the eyeliner and then proceeded to draw a fine line around his brown eyes.
If someone else than an eyeliner was telling the story, they might have said something about the chocolate color of those eyes, the softness of the caramel skin around those eyes, and about the small smile of anticipation and excitement on Howie's face as he prepared himself with great care... But as it is, all we learn is that the eyes were brown and the hand that guided our eyeliner knew what it was doing.
His eyes had obviously been the last thing Howie had to take care of, because after he was satisfied with the way the eyeliner accented them and made them look bigger (apparent from the way he batted his lashes and the satisfaction in his smile) he put the eyeliner into his pocket and left.
When the eyeliner was taken out next, it was in a public bathroom, much less luxurious than the first one.
The other man from the store, Kevin, was standing behind Howie this time, watching him reapply the eyeliner. Howie didn't see the light in Kevin's eyes as they were fixed on him, because he was concentrating on his reflection in the mirror, but from the point of view of the eyeliner it was obvious.
"You were very good tonight, D," Kevin said, finally tearing his eyes away from the sight of Howie and busying himself by washing his hands.
At Kevin's compliment Howie's face lit up, and the hand that held the eyeliner trembled just a bit as their eyes suddenly locked in the mirror, both not saying anything, just watching, as if this was something that had happened before but never been spoken of. Then Kevin turned abruptly, apparently to dry his hands, and Howie's seemed to find his voice again: "Thanks, Kev -- I thought it went okay, too!"
"You really put yourself down too much, Howie -- you're a good actor, and tonight you were more than that." Kevin's voice turned softer, and the eyeliner rested in Howie's hand, forgotten as he concentrated completely on the other man. "You had it all down perfectly tonight -- the text, the mannerism, the looks. Specially the looks -- that eyeliner is great on you. Very sexy..."
Kevin's voice trailed off as their gazes met, this time directly. Howie's smile was warm, his cheeks even warmer as he blushed a bit but didn't avert his eyes.
"Thank you -- I kind of like it myself, I was thinking of wearing it at the club tonight. But honestly? I think I'd like it even better on you..."
If the eyeliner had been susceptible to changes in atmosphere, it would most definitely have noticed the electricity in the air and the current running from Howie to Kevin and back, almost sparkling with intensity. But all it noticed was that the two men were slowly drifting towards each other, as if something unavoidable was finally going to happen.
"You think so?" Kevin's voice dropped even lower, and Howie's hand (still holding the eyeliner) shook again, just a bit.
Tightening his grip, he motioned Kevin to lean down a bit. "Hold still..." he whispered, his breath causing Kevin's eyelids to flutter (which shows how close they were standing by now).
Then, with the utmost care, Howie applied eyeliner around Kevin's eyes, biting his lip slightly in the process. The fingers of his other hand appeared to be holding Kevin's face still, but in reality they were barely touching his skin, only ghosting over his features.
Then he was finished.
"Do you like it?" he asked softly, looking into Kevin's green eyes, waiting for an answer.
Kevin didn't even pretend to look into the mirror to check the effect. Or maybe he knew that Howie was asking something completely different.
"I love it!" he said, and leaned in to (finally) kiss Howie.
The eyeliner fell to the ground, forgotten as Howie moved his hand to tangle in Kevin's hair. It rolled beneath the sink and came to rest there, its part in the story fulfilled.
But for Howie and Kevin, the story had only just started.