Something Stole My Eyelashes
You see them occasionally while driving: those cars with the goofy plastic eyelashes. "Those are so obnoxious," you say to yourself. "What kind of garbage human would put those on their car?"
Me. I would. And I did! But hear me out.
I received my Car Lashes™️ one year as a birthday gift from my mother-in-law, who hates me. Given the fact that Car Lashes™️ are widely considered to be ugly af, I naturally interpreted the gift as a thinly-veiled indictment of my personal aesthetic.
"I bet you love this tacky shit, you tasteless thot," it seemed to say. "I have no idea how you tricked my son into liking you, but I hope he leaves you soon."
So you see, it was out of sheer spite that I determined to unironically love my Car Lashes™️. I thanked her for them profusely, and sent her a picture of her son sticking them on my headlights for me, and then I told her about the nice restaurant he was taking me to as a birthday surprise, because he's such a good husband and loves me so much <3
After all, being happy is the best revenge.
But this isn't the story of how I obtained my Car Lashes™️. This is the story of how I lost them.
Fast forward two or three years. The initial whirlwind romance has died down, and my relationship with my Car Lashes™️ has developed into a calm, yet passionate, mutual regard. Meanwhile, my husband had been home-brewing his own mead for a few years, and he decides to go commercial. He creates a Kickstarter to finance his startup micro-meadery, and we throw the launch party at our house. I make lots of snacks, there's obviously lots and lots of yummy mead, and we joyously carouse into the wee hours with a house full of friends.
The next morning my alarm goes off at 6. Unfortunately, I have a funeral to go to. My friend's brother-in-law had died that week, and I'd told her I'd go to the service to support her. The funeral was a 6 hour drive away, so hangover notwithstanding, I had to get my ass on the road if I wanted to be on time for the ceremony. What kind of asshole would I be to show up late to a funeral?
It was cold and the sun was just rising. The gloaming light made the dense forest look even more magical than usual as I sped down the deserted two-lane highway. It was beautiful, but I was in rough shape. I needed gas for my car and water for myself before one of us just sputtered out and died on the side of the road, but I went miles without seeing a gas station. Finally I found one and eagerly stopped.
It was 7:04 am in the middle of nowhere just north of the Virginia border. There were no other cars to be seen, so I left my car at the pump while I went inside for sustenance. The Car Lashes™️ were firmly in place.
The inside was like stepping into another dimension. The store was half convenience store half German-themed restaurant. On the German side were doilies and pictures of chubby Precious Moments™️ children in lederhosen. The convenience-store area seemed more typical, but closer inspection revealed racks of snacks and sodas I'd never heard of, covered in dust like they hadn't been touched in years.
There was not a single soul inside.
My intuition was telling me that these vibes were unacceptable, but my body was telling me I might keel over if I didn't get a toilet and a Gatorade in the next 5 minutes. Maslow's hierarchy kicked in, and my dehydration took precedence. The single, unisex bathroom was decorated according to the German theme. (Even in my pitiful state I chuckled at the irony of decorating a bathroom with clogs.) I found a drink that didn't seem poisoned, and made my way to the cash register, which had no one at it.
I was still trying to hurry for this funeral, and I'd already burned 10 minutes in this dusty gingerbread clownhouse. I called out to see if anyone was there, but heard no one. I started to consider just stealing my drink, when suddenly a voice croaked behind me.
"Sorry sweetie, had to tinkle."
I turned to see a woman appear out of nowhere, and two thoughts leapt to mind.
This woman did not need to "tinkle." If you're old enough to wipe your own ass, you're old enough to say "pee."
This woman couldn't have been in the bathroom the whole time, because I was just in there. So where did she come from??
She might have been 60 years old, but her voice sounded like she'd been chainsmoking for about 90 years, which means she was probably only 40. She made more croaky small talk as she sold me my drink, while I tried to keep my answers as short and polite as possible. The whole situation gave me the jibblies. If this lady was up to something shady, I didn't want to piss her off. Who knows what she's capable of? Nor did I want her to know anything about my business. I paid in cash, declined my change, and bounced out the door before she could offer me a receipt, relieved at my escape.
My faithful car awaited me at the pump where I'd left it.
The eyelashes were gone.
I got out of there as fast as my lash-plucked car could carry me, and lived to tell the tale. But I'll never know what happened to my Car Lashes™️. I can only assume the Goblin Lady took them, since she was the only other person I saw. But why? And how? Perhaps she was just a harmless croaky-voiced lady, and she's being framed for this crime. Perhaps some shadowy figure lurks in the trees, waiting for unsuspecting cars to approach the gas station so they can steal their eyelashes before vanishing once more into the forest. I'll never know for sure.
But one thing is certain. I've travelled that road dozens of times. I've stopped at every exit from Raleigh to D.C. And I have never again been able to find that mysterious half-German convenience store. Some say it never existed at all; others say it only appears at dawn, to prey on the weariest of travelers. So if you ever find yourself stumbling at sunrise into a half-German gas station shop, keep your wits about you.
You might lose more than your Car Lashes™️.