Angel Kisses

Grandmother says they’re angel kisses and pulls me to her bosom.

I welcome her emphatic stance. It comes just in time for me to wipe emergent tears on her apron, unseen. Surreptitious. I am enfolded into a mighty love, breathing a heavenly scent of roses. I expect her tender entanglement to suction the freckles from my body when I am released. She is that magnetic.

But it doesn’t happen. The freckles merely multiply and deepen in color on my summer skin, fading in the fall. I try a bold pseudo-lament that I’d have a tremendous tan if God had mixed my skin tones more thoroughly, as part of the “God is not finished with me yet” message I learned in Bible School.

I punctuate the claim with a laugh, but no one ever moves beyond a quizzical, bemused look. My smile fades. I shrug. Even smart-ass quips can’t overcome a craving to be like the other kids who run in full embrace of the sun.

I become a dedicated reader – indoors, pale but fully edified and ready for college. I go to college, bedazzled with others’ social ease, unwilling to look in a mirror, so I seldom see the smiley face that others secretly adore.

Freckles ruin the sophistication of a little black dress, something that Coco Chanel hadn’t planned on, as I head off to young adulthood. My knees become the show when I seat myself on a preschool chair, dressed in a pert plaid skirt, whether in my speech-language pathology work with toddlers or to volunteer as children’s book reader at the local childcare program. My lover grabs a pencil to connect the dots on my belly and I am not amused.

Suddenly magazine ads feature some freckled models and actress’s photos are no longer airbrushed to remove artifacts like freckles. I’m married to a man who adores all of me, out loud, everyday and never mind the freckles.

Now, as we move into the golden years, I still don’t linger in front of mirrors. When the dermatologist offers me a prescription cream to lighten age spots, I am shocked. To me they are only freckles, there since childhood.

They are angel kisses.

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7 Comments on “Angel Kisses

  1. My Mother told me to wash my face in the dew in the morning to remove the freckles – didn’t work. Also I was told to use watermelon juice to remove freckles – again, that didn’t work. Good thing we have accepted them – nice to think of them as angel kisses!!!

  2. Thoughtful post, Pat.

    One of the things we all have the right to hope is that increasing diversity will eventually crowd out stereotypes as the acceptable forms of truth, beauty the American Way, et al. So it is, I think, with the dreaded freckles, curly hair, dark skin, light skin, bald spots and too skinny, too full-figured, nose too big, too small…the list is endless.

    I like to think that the lei motif of our age is that it’s okay for us to amend HOW we see things as HOW MUCH we see grows…is it too much to hope that greater volume adds (sometimes dramatically) to our perspective, if we let it? That said, it’s a slow process, unfortunately; at least in my case. One that is inevitably fraught with fits, starts & the occasional step backward.

    Still, the eternal optimist, sometime humanist usually mystic in me wants to believe that individually and collectively, we’re evolving. And that we’re all better than we think, physically and spiritually. (And worse, sometimes, too…but let’s not focus on the latter, eh?)
    Best wishes,

  3. from Bob, the one-word man, through Cheryl, the lady of shared freckle saga and Gregg who loves, to Dirk, the sagacious contemplative one: thanks for your comments.
    Thank goodness mankind is evolving; and the world go round and round regardless of what we do or do not! Happy Thanksgiving!

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