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All the hopes that you've been holding on to for so long

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The first time Samuel wears lipstick he's scared shitless, but he's also so attracted to it, so excited at the idea to try it on, that his innate lack of confidence gives way to that sliver of courage he has mastered to get upstairs to his mother's bedroom and finally to the vanity where she keeps her make up.

He knows her make up is here because he has watched her as she put it on so many times, and yet he has never been in the bedroom without her. It's a weird feeling, not entirely good. He can feel that he is doing something wrong even before he does it. His mere presence in the room is forbidden and inappropriate – that is what his father said once when he found him helping his mother painting her nails a beautiful shade of silver – what he is here to do can only be worse.

From his mother's wide collection he chooses the red lipstick because it's the brightest and because it's her favorite. She had let him try it on the back of his hand once. He has always thought his mother had great tastes – maybe not the same he has, but good, elegant – and if he really is going to do this - is he? - he wants to choose a color that he already knows it's good.

He places himself in front of the mirror and holds the lipstick in his hand like a knife at first, the weapon he's going to change himself with. Then he takes off the cap. The lipstick has been used, but it doesn't matter. It's still new enough that it maintains its shape.

Just looking at his armed hand boosts his courage.

He holds his breath and dives in, like he used to do when he was a little kid and his father let him jump from his shoulders. He puts it on and it feels like power.

It's a shield around his body, making his reflection a little more what it's supposed to be.