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By Lenora Murphy
I was born covered in fair, white skin and blond hair. As a toddler, my ringlets would bounce as I bobbled around and laughed and my cheeks flushed as I smiled.
I was considered cute by most. But eventually, ugly by myself.
Once in grade school, my flawless pale skin was disrupted by a small spot just under my left eye. It had always been there, but was then starting to get larger. As I grew, it grew as well. It eventually formed into a dark brown mole that sat directly under my left eyelid and rested on the point of my cheek bone.
I despised it. In my eyes, it was an annoying, ugly, unnatural lump that had imposed itself on my body making me look like a witch. I knew it was unmovable, yet never lost the desire to get rid of it.
Years after it had fully developed, I moved from Bowing Green, Ohio to Rosemont, Illinois where I had lived in a hotel for nine weeks before settling into a permanent home. At the hotel, there was plenty of room for my family to stretch our legs and enjoy the summer before beginning the stress of adapting to a new life. We were able to enjoy a free breakfast every morning, tennis courts, walking paths, an outdoor pool and a hot tub. Of course, only under our parents supervision.
The hotel itself was across the way from an international airport. Because of its location, almost all hours of the day there were large airplanes flying low overhead. It was startling at first, but after the shock wore off, it was quite fascinating.
Being twelve years old, the pool was my favorite past time. I remember at the bottom of the outdoor pool there was a rose painted on the bottom that was visible from half the rooms available. It was meant to be seen by the planes passing by overhead. My sister and I created a game to see which one of us could pick the largest piece of paint from that rose in one piece. I was a little daring, but also a little dumb.
I am not entirely sure what I was thinking just before I had done it, but at the time it didn’t seem stupid. I dove into the shallow end of the pool, which was roughly three feet deep. I felt the speckled bottom of the pool scrape my skin, leaving it raw and exposed when I surfaced and caught my breath. I sat on the edge of the pool and touched my face and then pulled my hand away and glanced at the blood n my fingers.
Thoughtlessly, I stood, ignoring the pain. I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around my shoulders and ran past my mother who was sitting in a lawn chair a few yards away. I mumbled something along the lines of “I need to go back to the room, I will be right back” and ran for the elevator.
Once I was safe in my hotel room alone, I dropped the towel and stood in front of the mirror after I locked the door. The blood was beginning to ooze and smear, making it difficult to see where each individual scrape was. I still felt pain.
For the sake of saving my white bikini from stains, I slipped out of it and stood in front of the mirror again to count my casualties.
Since I dove in straight in, almost all of the scrapes were in a vertical line down my figure. The largest one ran from the top of my forehead to the point of my nose. Then underneath that was my chin, my hipbones, my knees, the tops of my feet and a tiny slice on the top of one my toes.
As a stared at my naked bleeding body, I began to feel the pain. The blood was running down my neck from my face and creating a stream down my torso and then dripping into the tile floor at my feet.
I looked at my face again. But instead of seeing the scars, I saw an opportunity. I thought that if I had gotten something sharp- anything sharp- and gotten rid of that mole I despised, I could pull it off as a casualty from the dive just as all the other scrapes I was covered in.
I fumbled through my bag of makeup on my bathroom sink, looking for a tool to conduct my experiment. I only had once chance and only a few minutes to do it before my mother sent my sister up to check on me. I found a pair of tweezers and another of nail clippers. I tried the tweezers first. I didn’t bother to dry the blood that already existed- I wanted it too look as if the cuts were made at the same time. I leaned close into the mirror and slowly began to pick at the brown mole under my left eye. However, the tweezers were dull and ineffective. They broke the skin, but were unable to go deep enough to the root.
I dropped them in the basin of the sink frantically and positioned the nail clippers, swallowing the discomfort. I started picking around the edges, taking it apart piece by piece. I kept referring to the scrape of my forehead to try to match the texture and the depth but it looked so different, it made me even more nervous. But the pain was blinded by a drive to look normal and pretty. So, I kept clipping it.
Three weeks later, almost all of the scars had healed unbelievably fast. My forehead was scabbed but curing, my hips were sore but smooth again and my knees were practically perfect. The mole had also healed, along with the rest of my broken body.
However, it did not grow back in its entirety. The edges which I had attacked first were gone as well as the deep brown color. It ended up turning more of a sandy beige and reduced in size.
As I entered my teenage years, it seemed not only to shrink, but also to slowly move back towards my ear and no longer sat directly on my cheekbone as it did when I was a child.
My plan had flailed. It failed in regards to its original intent however it succeeded in teaching me to never again try to alter my body in any way, shape or form. Every spot on my sink is a beauty mark; a kiss from an angel.