In a rare moment of planetary alignment this morning, my children allowed me the luxury of a bath long enough to shave my legs. This is rare indeed. Granted, by the end of the experience, Monkey had stripped naked and was attempting to join me by plunging in headfirst, and when I foiled that plan, he took his vengeance by scooping out my bath by the cupfull and depositing it onto the floor.
They also allowed me to use some of those whitening strips on my teeth, which was amazing, because that means that they actually went almost thirty minutes without me having to yell at them. But although this post may be about things that are blindingly white, it is not about my teeth.
I have ugly legs. Seriously. My friend M was recently drawing parallels between my shockingly pale legs and the creamy alabaster hues of Jane Austen heroines, but there is nothing creamy about these legs. I don't think Jane Fairfax's legs were so white they were actually blue. In any case, she never had to wear shorts in public.
So this morning while I was shaving, I also counted seven bruises on my right leg, and twelves bruises on my left leg. Did I mention that my children were being freakishly cooperative today? How does a person get NINETEEN bruises on her legs at one time? Am I dying or something? I've had blood tests; I've never been anemic or anything. I just bruise like crazy, and I never remember where any of them came from, so when people ask me about my bruising, I probably sound a bit dodgy and evasive, like a battered woman. (I am not a battered woman, for the record. Unless you count the various beatings given to me by my children, which are mostly accidental. Although yesterday I did get a fat lip from one child's head and what felt like a broken nose from the other child's head. Children's heads should come with a warning label.)
Under the bruises, on top of the gleaming white, you can trace my entire circulatory system without any special high-tech imaging systems. I remember before I got breasts, when I stepped out of a hot shower and looked in the mirror, I could pretty much see my own heart. My skin is see-through.
When I was in Mexico several years ago, I remember an older woman coming up to me and running her fingers down my arm shyly. "Me gusta la piel," she said. I like your skin. "Tan bonita, tan bonita." She would not let go of my arm, and she kept chanting softly, "So pretty, so pretty." Her own skin was rich and brown, golden in the sun. Meanwhile, her hand was turning chalky from the layers of sunblock she was chafing off of my arm.
I guess she was a Jane Austen fan.