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.