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Caravan to beauty.

“Mom, am I ugly?” asked Melanie.

He mother’s face became distorted with pain. She turned to her husband sitting next to her on their bed. His face was cloaked. There was a moment of silence.

“Of course not,” said the mother.

Melanie left her parent’s room. She returned to her room. She sat on her bed. She didn’t feel any better. Melanie had falsely believed that her dark skin made her ugly. Being teased about having dark skin had caused her to feel inferior. She also felt light skin was on its own prettier. She didn’t feel that her black race was inferior though. It was just her dark skin. She saw Barbizon Modeling School commercials. The models were always white and beautiful.

Her mother didn’t tell her she was pretty. She did something more powerful. She invested in braces for her, better clothes and surrounded her with smart, loving, beautiful, and strong female relatives. One of those relatives told her the darker the berries, the sweater the juice. That went right over her head as a child back then.

She didn’t know when that inferiority complex melted away with time.. High school brought about different interest and goals. She no longer felt ugly. But she didn’t feel pretty either. She felt okay.

Then it happened. Her second year of college it happened. Her mother came to visit he on campus.

“This is for you. Congratulations,” said her mother.

She gave Melanie a red rose with baby breaths. She was one of the models in her friends fashion show at school. It was what she dreamed about as a little girl. But it wasn’t about whether she was pretty or not. It wasn’t about whether she had the right figure or not. It wasn’t about the attention. It was about helping her friend and classmates get a full scholarship to FIT Institute in New York. It never occurred to her ", wow I’m going to be a model". She and other classmates just tried to do all they could to help their classmate and friend. It meant a lot to find out it helped.her get it.

A few years later on a Saturday after graduation from college Melanie stood outside her house. Her friends and she were off to the Fashion Fair Fashion Show in New York City.

“Melanie, where’s Robin?” asked Kent.

“She just called to say…” said Melanie.

“She’s always late. She better get here soon. We should be leaving soon. The traffic downtown is going to be heavy,” said Kent.

Robin pulled into the driveway roaring her red mustang. She jumped out of her car.

“Sorry, I’m late. Is everyone here?” asked Robin.

“Yeah, Valerie, Paul, Dianne, Debbie, George, Michael, Rory, Kent, and Mellissa are here,” said Melanie.

“Okay, we’re going to take the New England Throughway, to the Major Deagan, to the Harlem River drive. Honk if you are separated from the car you’re following.. I’ll try to move to the right lane and wait for you. I’ll give all the drivers directions. If we get separated just meet in front of the Sheraton Hotel Lobby, okay?” asked Kent.

The group said yeah. Melanie’s mom came outside unto the porch. She smiled as she saw the group all dressed up.

“You’ll have a nice time. Everyone looks so nice,” said Mrs. Green.

“Thank you,” said Kent.

Champ, the family dog pushed open and got out. He ran over to Melanie barking and wagging his tail. He knew all of her friends.

“Champ, what are you doing?” asked Melanie.

“I guess he wanted to say hello to your friends,” said Mrs. Green laughing.

“Okay mom, I’ll…” said Melanie.

“Don’t worry I’ll get him back into the house after you’ll leave. I’ll hold onto him until all the cars pull off,” said Mrs. Green.

The caravan of cars rolled up the streets just as the sun was setting. They had little trouble following each other. They pulled up in front of the Sheraton Hotel in downtown New York City were the fashion was going to be. They decided to park in a garage not too far away. They waited on line to get into the fashion show. The line of people was like the fashion show before the fashion show.

“I’ll be right back,” said Melanie.

“Where are you gong?"” asked Robin.

“I’m going to the ladies room. I’ll be right back,” said Melanie.

“Do you want me to come with you?” asked Robin.

“Don’t get lost,” said Robin.

“Wouldn’t that be something?” asked Melanie laughing.

Melanie found the ladies room without much trouble. But on the way back to her seat she made the wrong turn. She mistakenly went through a door that said staff only.

“You are late,” said a women in French.

“What? Excuse me?” asked Melanie.

“You are late. The show is going to start in ten minutes. And you know better than arriving in makeup.”

“These American Models are so eccentric. What are you going to do?” asked the women in English.

“I’m not a model. I came to see the show. I got lost and…” said Melanie.

“Really, this area is restricted to only participants of shows. So either you’re a model or you are in a lot of trouble,” said the man.

“Well I guess I’m a model. Where do I go?” asked Melanie.

“Zennetra, show her to the model dressing room please,” said the man.

They rushed her into an outfit, new makeup and did her hair over. She was with the first models.

“Look there is Melanie. She didn’t tell me she was going to be in the show,” said Robin.

“Me either,” said Kent.

Melanie snapped out of her daydream just in time to get back to her seat before the show started.

“What happened?” asked Robin.

“Nothing,” said Melanie.

“Don’t give me that. I know that smile,” said Robin.

“Just a little daydream,” said Melanie.

“Ladies and gentleman thank you for coming to Fashion Fair’s annual Fashion Show,” said the host.

The group of friends enjoyed the show. The caravan followed to a restaurant for dessert after. Melanie got back home late. But she woke her mother up to tell her about the evening.

“You are so beautiful. You always were and now you are happy too,” said her mother.


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