“what happened to your face?”

what happened to your face?
a small girl of six asked me today.
her voice was soft and her eyes round,
startled and upset, i hadn’t a clue what to say.
she was looking up at me innocently,
even though i myself am just five feet tall;
my lips gently quivered and my brows scrunched,
for the first time today, i could feel my face fall.
i was shocked and a little hurt,
at the little girl’s harmless question
and how it could easily plague my mind
with recurrent thoughts about my very own skin.
she turned away, confusion evident in her features
after i rushed out an unconvincing, feeble reply;
hoping that nobody had witnessed this exchange,
i closed my eyes and let out a long and deep sigh.
most places i go, with most people i speak to,
it’s hard to avoid their questions, which make me ache;
it’s painful to listen to them give me useless remedies,
when all i want to scream is, i’ve tried it all, give me a break.
i realise that they are all my well-wishers,
hoping to help me out of this seemingly permanent phase,
so i shrug it off, with an embarrassed smile,
and a hesitant nod silently saying yes, i’ll try your ways.
two brown eyes, a cute nose, thin lips
straight teeth and a nice chin,
what’s wrong? chubby cheeks peppered with blemishes,
they trigger one to ask me the question;
they ask, i frown then shrug,
they raise their eyebrows and i sigh
i mumble a convincing answer, one that ensures
no follow up questions, internally thinking WHY?
the little girl’s honest, guileless query however
caught me off guard and i stuttered,
since the syntax of my usual interaction
was out the window, leaving me perturbed.
these blemishes have made themselves at home,
uninvited guests that have exceeded their stay;
with aloe vera and fruits as my best friends,
i exhaustingly wait for the day, when they all go away.

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