It may seem strange, but sometimes I forget it: the white badge of scandalous love I wear on my face. I walk out into the world supposing my face is as much like any other as any face is like other faces. And so, sometimes, I am confused. Today’s new student’s gaze was so persistent, so full of questions, disconcerting to the teacher who tried so hard to make everything clear, who kept looking up to find him still staring. (Most people have been taught, by his age, that staring is impolite.) Finally, though, I realized it as he finally began with the familiar preamble, “It might be rude to ask, but …” and raised his hand in the familiar gesture to his own left brow. Such a relief it was to know the meaning of his looking, I think I beamed at him as I gave the familiar, simple explanation: how it changed when I was eight, how it doesn’t hurt, how I was glad he’d asked.
And I was glad. Those questions don’t always gladden me. There are the days when I wax angry at the impertinence of people who deem the pigmentation of my lashes to be their concern as well as mine, days when I want nothing more than anonymity, days when I wish I did not inspire the cashier to call her niece in Louisiana to tell said niece about me. But today I was glad.
I rarely tell people the whole story; I didn’t today: how I look upon it as a mark of love, how it reverberates with echoes of other stories for me now, stories of wounds being made beautiful, how to smile when I am asked is somehow, for me, to answer for the hope that is in me. How sometimes I forget that hope, the scandal of that love, how their questions remind me. How He tells me:
You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.*
Oh, yes; today I am glad you asked.
©2012 by Stacy Nott