I stare into the dressing room mirror, the bulbs a reflective halo around my face.
Is that really me?
My hair is gelled into translucent spikes, my skin milky pale. The dress is a sparkling fantasy of white tulle and sequins, and icy ribbons drift from my sleeves. Words like pretty and beautiful donít mix with Bianca ... but now everyone is crowding around, staring, wondering.
Albino was one of the first words I could say. I soon hated it with a passion. I couldnít lie on the beach and splash in the pool with my friends. I had to wear glasses from a young age and I attracted bullies like flies to a rotting carcass. Basically, my skin defined who I was Ė pale, insipid and defective.
Then Ms Jessup made an announcement about our Christmas play. ďWe need someone with light hair and skin to take the part of the Ice Princess.Ē
Thirty heads turned to look at me and I felt a blush rise to my cheeks. I didnít mind blushing - it was the only time I had colour in my face, even though it was blotchy.
Iíve always studied peopleís complexions, longing for a bloom of life in my own. Skins are described as white, red, yellow, black and brown but they are so much more than that. I see cheeks the texture of smooth chocolate and arms the shade of warm biscuits; hands glazed with honey and legs of golden cream. Myself? Iím fat-free milk, weak and watery.
But now ... I look into the mirror again. I look like an Ice Princess and white is beautiful. Against the multicoloured people around me, I stand out like a shard of frozen light.
A conversation I had with Mom, settles into consciousness. ďI hate being me. I canít go anywhere or do anything.Ē
ďThatís not true, Bianca. You have limitations but so does everyone else. Let God show you what He can do with your life.Ē
I wasnít convinced but I muttered a prayer that night. ďGod, Iím tired of being fodder for the bullies. Show me something I can do well and enjoy.Ē
I hadnít thought of it till now, but maybe, just maybe, this is my answer.
ďYouíre on, Bianca.Ē
The rest of the cast scatter as I stand and take hold of my glittering sceptre. Would God really do this? Make me a princess and plant hope in my heart? I step up to the throne, a magnificent structure draped with pure white satin. Iím seated, poised, regal, like a real princess as the curtains whoosh open and the crowd stares. I see glimpses of them through funnels of light-laden dust, their mouths agape, eyes wide.
I take the moment and fold it into my heart forever; a treasured memory to inspire and heal. It is You, God. I know it is. Only You could strip away my pain.
I stand and lift my sceptre as thousands of shimmering stars tumble from above. ďHear ye, hear ye, citizens of Ice-ania. I come with a message from the king.Ē My voice is strong and echoes around the theatre as truth echoes around my soul. I am loved. I am worth something, God does care.
Tomorrow Iíll be back in class, doing the same old things but something has changed on the inside. Iím no longer fat-free milk , watery and weak. Iíve realised Iím a true princess, the daughter of the King of Kings.
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