My Fair Lady

What could it possibly be like to be albino?

I worked the other day with a young woman the color of wax. She had long, snow white hair folded back into a braid with skin you could see through. No eye lashes. She was the stylish for a job I was on. Her other arresting feature were her eyes.

They were positively Siamese like in their blueness.

Me being me, couldn’t help but be fascinated. I watched her whirl around like a ghost in fatigues and a skimpy blazer. Stylists are models for their own style and expertise, and she was no different. Bangles crawled up her arms like chatty cobras greeting a tattoo of an orchid with the name Che in its center.

I later learned he was a brother killed in Vietnam when she was nine. He used to write to her revealing his heartbreaking, unrelenting homesickness. She’s kept all his mail…said they were her most prized possessions next to the opal her grandmother left her when she died.

I felt as if I were in the presence of a painting…a Renoir perhaps come to life. She was timeless, ethereal, mysterious and sad.

All of thirty, she went about her day with an air of quiet reserve as she dressed me in wool plaid and navy blue gabardine.

I had to hold my tongue not to ask a zillion questions…so hard for me knowing she’d undoubtedly end up on the page. How could she not? She was a character right out of Dickens or a Chekhov play pleading to be heard.

According to Websters, an albino defines as:
a person or animal having a congenital absence of pigment in the skin and hair (which are white) and the eyes (which are typically pink).

Well her eyes were untypically the color of sapphires beckoning from a jeweler’s window  lighting up the room. They were breathtaking and misty, as though they were swimming out to sea.

I had never met her before, but the other girl working had. Said she’s very esteemed in her field for being detailed oriented to the point of madness.

That made sense. I mean how else would you be, stripped of pigment plied with layers of quiet loss. I tried looking at the upside, like how much money she saves on mascara.

At the end of the day, because I admired them so, she gave me one of her silver bangles, the last thing I expected.

“Why the gift?” I asked, perhaps a little impolitely. I couldn’t help myself. All day she had me riveted rocking on the edge of my fake window-seat (ah…the world of catalog modeling). It was my last chance to absorb more of her.

“My brother taught me to give gifts when inspired by someone’s kindness.”

“Kindness..what kindness exactly?”

“Yours…you see me…I felt it all day.”

And I thought I was being so cool and sneaky.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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19 Responses to My Fair Lady

  1. micklively says:

    Your innate goodness seeps through once more, Susannah!
    I never met an albino, though I recall Johnny Winter, the guitarist from the seventies. As you say, if she has blue eyes then she is not a true albino. They often struggle to survive, since they can be short of, or have damaged, respiritory pigment (haemoglobin) too. A touching tale nontheless.


    • She is utterly porcelain in appearance…really arresting looking and the way she carries herself seems to pull the whole thing off despite being so stripped of color. Like a very white Easter rabbit that when you gaze up close has pink tones. anyway…as you can see…she has left an impression…Hear that twinkling noise? It’s my snake bracelet dancing on my wrist 🙂


    • PS I do remember Johnny and his brother Edgar…they always wore black leather offsetting their majestic whiteness.


  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    What a beautiful post, Susannah. Your descriptions are pure art.


    • Awe Skinny, thanks. Hopefully it will make up for yesterdays that bombed rather badly. Will try though, to pen another more democratic, enticing installment since I like the idea of it…the sharing of murmurs if you will. I do hope all is well in Skinny’s world.


  3. gmg says:

    Such a lovely story. Your description of the woman brought tears to my eyes.


  4. katecrimmins says:

    The best kindness doesn’t come from the mouth but from the body language.


  5. I know when I first read your blog, your words jumped out and grabbed onto my heart. I knew then that I was going to have the privilege of reading your words as often as I could. Kindness oozes in your posts. The way you love on animals and the way you touch the people around you. This post just confirms that in the same way your words ooze kindness, it is an overflow of your personality. How wonderful that you touched another’s life in such a way. Wow! such an impact you have on those around you.


    • Well, am I embarrassed. I really do feel it’s the, and don’t feel as if I’m slamming myself with a self-deprecating slur, writer’s fascination in me…need a theme…what and who can I observe to write about. Now she was a gift…where did she come from? My first encounter with her and she was storybook like…it was if the heavens opened and handed her down… Anyway…it’s late and I’m answering you while I am so, so tired…but thank you. I appreciate that you read me so often. Never take it for granted and it never fails to humble me right down to my socks.


  6. MJ says:

    Inspiring on so many levels…an exquisitely drawn, real life fairytale with two beautiful heroines! I’m wondering, too. Bright light can often be excruciating for people with pale-colored eyes; it must be near intolerable for those with no pigment at all. Perhaps tinted lenses provide some protection, and the lovely fair lady has made them part of her signature style.
    Re: Yesterday’s post
    Not a “bomb”! The slings & arrows of outrageous fortune bravely withstood.


    • I forgot about the sensitivity to light…of course…. She did have style, that’s for sure. It was what Diana Vreeland called easy, and built-in. Not contrived even though it was costume at its best. People do fascinate me, no question. So once again MJ, thanks for reading…thanks for your words.


  7. Patricia says:

    One of your gifts is that you see people. Most look but they look through people and don’t really see them.


  8. I love that she felt you viewed her as a Renoir and was open enough to let you know. I can only imagine how many times she must have been viewed in a much more painful manner. But the fact that she chooses to recognize and reward the good really speaks volumes on her character…amazing insight in this essay, I’ll be thinking about this for a while.


    • It’s something you would have written. You have that extra eye. She reminded me of the Girl With The Pearl Earring. I don’t know why. Made me want to rent it. I also found her terribly inspirational, how she takes what she has and enhances it so beautifully. She dripped with personal style that you can’t help but to wonder, from where did it come.


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