I woke up with what I will affectionately call a Balloon Face. Yes, I am exaggerating, but that was what came to mind. My eyelids were puffy and when I glanced downward, I could see the left side of my face poking out. A look in the mirror confirmed my ghastly appearance. I had diligently scrubbed and rescrubbed my face the night before. My face had been deeply caked with artfully applied makeup the day before to render my face appropriate for a professional looking photograph. Amazing stuff, that makeup. The resulting pictures were quite impressive. I believe that my face trauma was due to the fact that under normal circumstances it is generally naked. I am not a big makeup person. Eyeliner and mascara complete my look. When I was in high school my face was occasionally splattered with stage makeup for plays, and I will admit to experimenting with some more extensive looks, but ultimately my face became used to a minimalistic approach to embellishment. My face was now rebelling and swelling.
This instance took me back in history to the only other time that my face reacted in such a way. The culprit, surprisingly, was chocolate cake; Black Forest chocolate cake. I have no idea why it’s called that, but it does sound rather eerie, doesn’t it? It wasn’t because I ate the cake, it was because the cake was smeared on my face by my friend Mandy. We were not children. We were adults with our own children, and we basically had a food fight, or a chocolate cake smear to be more exact. I will admit that I started it. It was a beautiful chocolate cake that had not yet been touched. Mandy said something very funny to me that demanded an extremely witty, sarcastic reply. Instead, I completely startled her by gouging the cake and depositing it on her surprised face. I will have to say that her expression was absolutely priceless and it was worth everything that I received as a result of my action. Of course she retaliated. Our other girlfriend and all three husbands watched in disbelief. They were sure that we had lost our giggling, childish minds. When playtime was over, we dutifully cleaned up our mess as all mature adults should do. That’s when my face began to swell. The ballooning of my face only made everything more hilarious to us.
The chocolate cake incident became the cornerstone of future practical jokes that Mandy and I would play on each other throughout the years. It is a fond, distant memory brought suddenly to my mind by my recent makeup induced face expansion. It is odd what can trigger vivid memories. I just hope that whatever was in the makeup that made my face swell is not the same ingredient that we were eating in that cake!
**Please note that names have been changed.