Q: What is a Sacrament? Answer: A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.
#708 of Revlon’s Moon Drops Lipstick Collection, is called Apple Polish. It is my signature color. I have worn it for decades. Previously, I was able to find it at nearly any retailer who offered cosmetics under the Revlon Brand – drug stores, some grocery stores, discount chains. In the last five years or so, Walgreen’s has been my only source for replenishing my supply. Alas, no more. #708 is no longer readily available. The plastic casing for Moon Drops has been downsized, and Apple Polish got the hook.
I wore my mother’s Moon Drops shade, Persian Melon, when I needed to wear lipstick for tap dancing recitals and school pageants. But in eighth grade I found my first personal shade, Helene Bishop’s Pompeii Pink. It was a one-hit wonder (literally – but another story). In ninth grade, I found Bamboo Frost – that was a keeper for 3 years. No lipstick was hot in my college years. Mauve-y was the color I wore when Rick and I were married, but then it was back to naked lips until our infant daughter had open heart surgery in 1983. Desperate to feel like I had control of something – or at least wanting to appear that I had control of my outward self, I decided lipstick would help. Perhaps it would do for me what Persian Melon did for my mother back in the day.
I was eleven when I fell out of the tree-house we kids built in the back yard. When I fell, I hooked my leg on an errant nail and ripped a 4-inch gash thru the flesh. Bleeding, I hobbled in to the house – terrified I was dying. My mother calmly got up from what she was doing, handed me a towel, and said something to the live-in help that she would be leaving. She went into the bathroom and began putting on her lipstick. “What are you doing?” I cried. “I’m dying!!” She didn’t reply. No compassion – no comfort, just the undecipherable smile. She finished her ministrations and drove me to the emergency room. Fourteen stitches patched me up; I didn’t die.
Persian Melon appeared to help my mother pull it together – whether by virtue of the pause that allowed her to collect herself or by the magic of what it represented to her and the world. The times I remember my mother not holding it together, she wasn’t wearing lipstick. I know this because many times I was the one who held it together for her.
When Rae had her surgery, I most assuredly needed something to help me hold it together – but it wouldn’t be enough to just look good – I would need something more – something deeper. Perhaps Apple Polish could say to the world, ‘here is a calm, together woman who can manage the fear and apprehension of what is happening to her child with grace and compassion. Here is a woman who can pull it together, and hold it together, for herself and for her family even in the face of death.’ Apple Polish would become a sacrament: a plea for grace, trusting grace would come; and that it would be enough.
And so, Apple Polish allowed me to project presence, elegance, and gravitas outwardly, while giving my inner self a chance to catch up and be present to all concerned and for all that unfolded. It became my ‘Jackie Kennedy’ in a tube.
A quick search of the web offers me 24 Moon Drops shades at Revlon.com – but no Apple Polish. Persian Melon, my mother’s signature color, remains available, however. Persian Melon is the matte version of my frosty Apple Polish. But I cannot replace mine with hers. To the uninitiated, these colors appear similar, but they are quite different. To me Persian Melon represents an impenetrable inner state; and Apple Polish represents a state of graced presence.
At this writing, I have three tubes of Apple Polish in varying stages of use – as well as one unopened tube. I’ve probably used a total of three tubes in the last 30 years – so at my current rate of usage, I’m probably good until 2042. And I plan to wear it to Rae’s wedding next year.