I was 10 years old and she was sitting in a chair by the wall.

“Come here girl!”

She smiled and I went over. She said, “I am your real grandma.” I was thinking that Martha was my real grandma. But papa said she was my real grandma too. Up to that point in life I had no idea I was not ‘perfect.’ I knew I was perfect although my chest was starting to hurt and I was angry because I could not sleep on my stomach so easily anymore. No one had really noticed and I had not said anything. She motioned me to come over to where she was.

She had short short cropped iron grey hair and she looked like my grandpa. She had the biggest butt I had ever seen in my LIFE! I did not like her, this woman who gave my papa away when he was a little boy. I went over to where she was and she touched my face and said,

“You have the ‘family’ skin.”

“What is the family skin?”

“Go look at your nose in the mirror.” Her smile was both gentle and almost evil. I went in the bathroom and I looked in the mirror and noticed something I never had seen before: hundreds of tiny black dots! I ran back into the living room in horror!


“You have to learn to take care of your skin. They are black heads and you will be ‘early’ like you father’s side of the family.”

“Early? What do you mean by ‘early?’…” I trailed off frightened. “Turn around for me.” she said. Slowly I did that. “You will have the family body too. A pity that…” and she trailed off and actually looked sad. “…thick and greasy.”

Horror overcame me. I was destined to be ugly. She was like some evil fearie god-mother and, as a grew to be a woman, I was, indeed, thick greasy and EARLY!

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