BellaOnline Literary Review
Fish Arrival by Leslie Tribolet

Non Fiction

The Prettiest Pirate

Christine A.Brooks

It’s funny how differently we see each other. One very recent day, after leaving the gym, I stopped at a health food store to pick up a few things. I had just gone through a very rough break up and was feeling a little less than pretty. I had gained a few pounds, not been sleeping very well, and my stress levels were just about maxed out. This was my first day really back at the gym, and although I hadn’t lifted heavy, I was tired and my head was pounding.

As I pulled in the parking lot of the store, I checked myself in the rear view mirror. I was wearing a bright blue bandana to hide my grays, which were no longer important for me to cover. Funny, I thought to myself, a few months back I would never have missed my hair appointment. Looking back at me I saw a very tired woman with dark circles and hollow eyes. Who was this woman? I hardly recognized her. I had always been upbeat, positive and fun to be around… but not lately. The breakup, although I would never admit it, had left me more tired than I ever thought I could be, and more alone than I ever wanted to be.

I had changed. I was no longer the fun loving, happy go lucky person I used to be. Now I was recovering from an abusive relationship and, although my bruises had healed, my heart and soul had not. I looked again at the woman in the mirror and, slowly, went into the store.

After picking up the few things I needed, I made my way to the register, without noticing anyone else in the store.

“Mommy! Mommy!” He yelped in excitement.

Although I heard him, I didn’t lift my head to see what he was so excited about. My headache was turning very quickly into a migraine and I just wanted to pay and get home.

Ahead of me in line were a young mother and her small son. He was still very excited about something so I peeked up just in time to catch his eye.

“Mommy, did you see that?” he said as he turned to whisper his secret in her ear.

She smiled and turned around to look at me. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I could imagine it was my hair, or my clothes, or something even worse that I didn’t even know about. I kept my head down and hoped they would go away.

“Excuse me…” she said quietly.

“Yes.” I answered but still barely made eye contact.

“My son wanted me to tell you something. He’s too embarrassed.”

“Okay, go ahead.” I said, only imagining what horrible thing was coming next.

“He wanted me to tell you that you are the prettiest pirate he’s ever seen!” She said smiling proudly.

“Oh, well…thanks.” I said trying to catch a glimpse of him. No way. He was tucked safely under his mother´s raincoat and I had little hope of seeing him. I had forgotten about my bandana and little hoop earrings.

They quickly paid and made their way to the door, but not before he peeked out and smiled at me. I smiled back, looking right into his small blue eyes and waved goodbye.

I know this story has little chance of ever reaching the little boy or his mother, but if it ever does I wanted them to know how grateful I am for their seeing something in me that I had forgotten about, and reminding me that angels do come in all shapes and sizes. The next time I looked in the mirror I would not see what I had previously seen, from now on I would look and see the prettiest pirate. Thank you.

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