Katie was crying miserably, stood on a stool, water running, washcloth in her trembling hand.
“What’s the matter, honey?” Her mother stepped into the bathroom and turned off the faucet.
“They won’t come off,” Katie sobbed, scrubbing the washcloth at her cheeks and then throwing it into the sink in anger. “My face is going to be dirty forever.”
Katie had been in the sun before, but it was the first time the tiny sprinkling of freckles had surfaced on her nose and cheeks. You could barely see them.
“Honey, no. Who said your face was dirty?” her mother soothed, brushing away the tears.
“Annie did. She called me dirty face.”
“Well, I’m sure Annie just doesn’t understand. Those aren’t dirt spots, they’re sun spots. They’re called freckles.”
“I hate them,” Katie pouted.
“Nonsense,” said her mother, “and you’d better get used to them. They are going to get much darker and you’ll probably have a lot more of them.”
“But they’re ugly,” Katie complained, starting to cry again.
“No, they’re not, they’re beautiful!” her mother argued quickly. “In fact, only very beautiful people are lucky enough to have freckles. Did you know that?”
Katie shook her head.
“It’s true. A freckle pops up wherever the sun kisses you. The sun must have thought you were quite pretty, because he’s kissed you all over. See? Here and here and here…” She touched gently at a few of the tiny spots.
Katie looked at the mirror dubiously, but she seemed satisfied that her face wasn’t dirty.
The next day, at the grocery store, Katie’s mother turned around from her shopping. To her horror, Katie was nowhere in sight. Abandoning her cart and quickly retracing her steps, her panic grew as each aisle turned up no sign of her missing daughter. To her relief, she finally found Katie in the produce section, stood in front of the oranges. One by one, she was pulling each orange from the bin, inspecting it, and putting it back.
“How come none of the oranges have freckles?” Katie asked, ignoring her mother’s concern. “It says they’re sun-kissed.”
© 2015 Anne Schilde