“I wasn’t a pretty girl, I was six feet tall at 15, you know” – Maya Angelou
We moved from town to town and city to city, my 2 sisters, my brother and I. My dad had a hard time finding work you know. His shady past followed him wherever he would go. Mom did some part-time work for the school, but most of the time she was busy taking care of us. To this day, I don’t know how she did it, but you know she always had a smile on her face and a song in her heart.
I was the oldest child. I tried to do my best. I still had school you know. I had to do well. I wanted my mom to be proud. My dad didn’t much care. He wasn’t around much, you know. We never knew where he was. He sent money once. He sent flowers to mom on her birthday. You know she cried. I cried. My sisters and brother cried.
I was a gangly girl – looked like my dad – tall and thin with strong angular features. Unlike my mom, which she was petite and very pretty. She had long flowing dark hair and dark brown eyes. Her eyes were loving and kind unless she was mad. You know you didn’t want to see her mad cuz those dark brown eyes could cut you in two. I always wanted to look like my mom.
In my private time, which wasn’t much, I would sit in the attic and draw. I drew fashions – you know, beautiful dresses. I wanted to be a designer and live in NY. We lived in Kansas and I didn’t like it.
So, I was designing a dress for my sweet 16 coming out party. Mom said I could have one. I was so so excited. All my friends were going to be there. I had a lot of friends, um a lot of girlfriends. I didn’t have any boyfriends cuz I was taller than all of them. In fact, I was the tallest in my class, at 6 feet. I think I was the tallest in my school. This was the 3rd school I have attended this year so I was lucky to have friends, you know what I mean. Mom didn’t have to worry about me dating. No boys were tall enough.
My party was a success and my dress was sooo beautiful. I designed it myself, you know. I made it myself too. There were some old dresses, tucked away in a chest. They were made of beautiful satin material. Mom said they belonged to my grandma and I could do whatever I wanted with the material. Mom told me I was pretty and so did my girlfriends. I never thought I was pretty. I thought I was pretty ugly. I had a hard time finding clothes and shoes! Shoes – OMG! Forget about finding shoes for my long and skinny feet.
Several years have passed since my sweet sixteen. Dad passed just last year. My 2 sisters and my brother, we remember the flowers he sent. Best to remember the good times, rather than the bad. We left Kansas – mom and my sisters. My brother left a while back. He got a good job as a CPA. He was always pretty smart.
I made it through college. I had a scholarship that helped me through. I kept drawing my fashions, which I kept in a secret place. I actually made a book for them. It was made out of cardboard I had found in the attic. My prize possessions that were in that book are now safely stored in my portfolio. Yes, you heard me – my portfolio.
Mom and I live in NYC now – my dreams have come true. I am a designer and a good one at that. I model too! Mom can relax now, which is well deserved. She wants to write a book. I hope she does. She’s happy now and still has the long dark flowing hair, with a few silver strands.
I always wanted to look like my mom. I wasn’t a pretty girl, I was 6 ft tall at fifteen. That wasn’t okay then, but it is okay now, you know.
My story is fictional with no relevance to the life of Maya Angelou