charming

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September 12

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September 12

Fairy tales are reserved for White girls.

My name isn't Belle, Cinderella, Snow White or Ariel (I'm talking about the traditional Ariel) so from the get-go, I knew that my chances at finding Prince Charming were slim to none.

According to the ruthless teasing from my brothers growing up, I wasn't "black and beautiful" or "Dark and Lovely" like the boxes of hair relaxers my mother had hidden at the back of her closet, I was simply "darker and uglier", which definitely didn't do much for my already low my self-esteem.

It also didn't help that throughout grade school, all the compliments and attention were showered onto "the other" Lily who counted. The "real" Lily with the blue-eyes and blond-hair who took ballet lessons, competed in beauty pageants and modeled for children's fashion ads. I quickly learned that I would be always be overlooked, the last chosen in most areas of my life and that I would simply have to accept my lot in life.

Happily-ever-afters weren't a part of my world either. The leading ladies in the corny Hallmark channel movies I used to mindlessly watch on my dateless Saturday nights had it all.

Though those close to me might have been married since the beginning of time, none of them were even remotely happy. Nothing resembling love and everything to do with decades of distorted duty and angry toleration. The kind of anger that involved an almost daily occurrence of screaming and the throwing of things that would only temporarily cease the moment someone visited our house. The moment they were gone and out of earshot, the battles would flare up again.

Even Abuela who claimed that Abuelo was the love of her life had lots of nasty things to say about him.

Si quieres conocer a Inés, vive con ella un mes.

Fairy tales and happily-ever-afters don't exist for women like me. They never did and I now know for sure that they never will.

Mind you, I never believed any of that garbage until Dominic managed to slowly change my jaded mind. It took a while but one thing was for sure, he had a gift of convincing me and the people around him to believe in many things - like fate, serendipity and no such thing as coincidence.

When I was with Dominic, my dull black and white life came alive with the most vibrant hues of pinks and purples. It sounds stupid now but that's exactly how I felt.

In the beginning, I kept my guard up way up, waiting for the other shoe to fall because our connection felt like my favorite pair of tattered slippers that I should have thrown out long ago - natural, cozy and comfortable. We had so much in common, maybe too much in common.

I loved classic Motown and old R & B and so did Dominic. I found myself smiling whenever I'd drop an obscure song title on him and he'd know exactly which artist I was referring to and he could finish the lyrics off where I started without the blink of an eye. I was never one for loud parties, felt awkward in big crowds, and disliked the bar scene. He told me that he felt the same way though he outwardly pushed himself to be an extrovert. He didn't make fun of my dream to go on a pilgrimage to visit Abuela's grave in the village where she grew up. Instead, Dominic was impressed at my reverence for my grandmother.

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