Beauty & Me

How is it possible for two people to look at the same thing at the same time and when asked to describe what they are seeing, you might think they must be on opposite sides of the world?  It happens–  judges see it all the time with cases relying on multiple eye witnesses to the same crime.

It happened to me.  My sister and I have many shared memories.  We are only a year and a few weeks apart and growing up we were always together.  She was born with a small birthmark on her neck.  It was there since she was born so I didn’t think of it as different.  As we got older it took on a puffiness and became increasingly red.  It looked like a little strawberry.  One day at my great grandmother’s house, we were running around and around the little place.  We were nowhere near school age and it’s one of the few clear memories from a time few people can even recall anything.  My dear sister swears I pushed her and she fell forward on her stomach, breaking her fall with her little hands.  Somehow the little strawberry got pressed against something too hard and burst.  The little patch of skin healed and lost it’s color.  You can hardly notice it was anything other than perfectly beautiful skin.  My sister is perfectly beautiful– she was then and age has only refined her beauty.  I remember crying at the blood and thinking she was hurt.  I remember running but not the push–  the push she would tell anyone about who would listen for years and years.  She is beautiful but perhaps this experience exposed her flaw—  she was a liar.  I needed her to have a flaw.  I was toasty brown and freckled.  I had just started getting freckles at the time of the great strawberry popping.  I would rub my little hands over those dirty spots to try to make them go away.  My teeth were coming in with a space in between the front two.  I never really noticed it or the spots until people would compare me and the beauty.  I liked her strawberry.  It was normal to me but the same freckle spotters would call out the “weird thing on her neck”.

People would ask my mom if there had been and eclipse when she was pregnant with the beauty.  The gossipy neighbor would tell us the same story about how her mom looked at the moon during an eclipse and her brother was born with a nasty birthmark like the strawberry beauty had.  I sat up and thought maybe beauty had a curse like the fairy tales.  Maybe she would get spots on her face too.  Maybe my mom had looked at the moon during an eclipse when she was pregnant with me too.  To this day she swears I pushed her.  To this day I swear I didn’t.  I liked her having the strawberry curse.  The neighbor lady came over a few days later.  She asked me if I was still sad.  I told her I was.  She said don’t worry, even if there is an eclipse you and your sister are safe.  Kids only get it if they are still in their mom’s stomach and their mom looks at the moon.  I had asked her if she thought the strawberry might grow back on beauty every time I saw her after the fall.  I was sad for many days that beauty was weird free.

animal tree