I shook her hand and kissed her cheek. She put me to shame. Her skin – a baby’s bottom didn’t hold a candle to its softness, smoothness, texture. By comparison, I was made of steel wool, and it made me shudder as our faces touched.
Had she always been this pale? Well, pale. Can one with skin as brown as mahogany really be described as “pale”? But then, what other way was there to describe it? And what had happened to her mahogany skin? A complexion that had once mesmerized me with its evenness, blinded me with its shine, each time took my breath away and made me whisper “masha allah” at its natural beauty, making me envious despite myself.
I wanted to ask, but I was embarrassed. Afraid the question would reveal how the boring holes of time had extracted parts of her from my memory. Afraid it would hurt her. So I stared, as I always had, only this time perplexed, confused… disappointed.
Did you hear about Diana? She grants wishes. Wishes of little black girls. Turns them into princesses, any kind you want. Egyptian princess. Lebanese princess. Turkish princess…. Translucent princess…
Did you hear about Diana? She’s better than any shower you’ll ever take. Washes the brown right off you. “Hinaya biga lona nadeef~”.
I heard about Diana. She made my sisters ashamed of the brown God gave them. Made my brothers believe we came in orange. Dyed my people with the whitewash of the slave mentality, and projected us back into darkness.
I heard about Diana.
originally written on October 19, 2010.