Vic jabs at the muddy marks on her cheekbones and hopes that they will eventually blend away.

She pushes upwards, like they do on YouTube, so she doesn’t drag the skin further down towards her jowls. Jowls wasn’t even in her vocabulary a few years ago. She hates her mirror now, resents how much it cost. Purchased it off a link on Instagram, back when she was really working at her contouring. The LED lightbulbs just illuminate the bits she doesn’t want to see.

Last week, just before lockdown, she’d prowled through the big Boots in town before honing-in on the most ‘age-appropriate’ counter (how she hates that term). She’d tried to explain to the assistant that her skin was different now, more porous in some ways but also, weirdly, less. She’d tried a bunch of primers that she’d read about in the beauty columns, but none of them seemed to create a surface that was as smooth as she needed it to be. Nothing, including herself, was in its prime.

Vic steps back from the mirror. Then further again. She turns, walks out of the room, and shuts the door behind her. Maybe she’ll look better tomorrow.