The thump of music makes it way through several inches of concrete walls where the other ladies wait their turn on stage. The greenroom is packed with feathers, sequins, and every shade of eyeshadow. When one of the girls enter, for a brief moment, we can hear MC and applause coming through the door. She needs me to take off the wig and unzip the dress so she can prepare for her next number.
Daughter pushes her hands against one of the tables, trying to sneak her fingers into the pancake powder. The girl holding her works at her falsetto, speaking in soft undertones, “Eat that, and it’ll–” I can’t hear what she’s saying to my child, because once again I’m whirled about, doing a touch up where the foundation turns blotchy around the creases of one girl’s mouth. I assure her that there’s no sign of beard shadow.
Daughter gets passed to another lady as the one holding her is up. The woman passes me with a kiss-kiss in the air and heads out. The chaos comes under my control, even as Daughter ends back up on my hip. I check with each of the performers in back straightening head dresses and helping costumes stay in place.
When the curtain falls and the girls run back in whoops and laughter and relief, Daughter is passed around like their toddler mascot. Costumes are stripped, make-up wiped away, and we cheer another successful Friday show. Each of her aunties kisses Daughter on the head before we leave for the night; I wipe away the lipstick from where it’s stuck in her brown curls, and return home, exhausted and glowing. There’s glitter on the pillow when I awake the next morning.