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  • Akosua Biraa

Ugly but Beautiful

Lucinda's face was nothing to write home about. In fact if you were to hear it said--by the townsfolk--she had a visage that would not only break every mirror, but also one that made each and every baby cry upon sighting her. According to the inhabitants of Crullville, Lucinda had been born on a wild and windy day, when half of the town lay under raging floods that had not been at all predicted. That night, they say, Lucinda's mother crouched--sweaty and dejected--in a pigsty. There, she laboured alone for many hours, amidst the howl and jowl of 200 mph gales that knocked the daylight out of that hovel, and the surrounding trees, high up on Kynd hill.

Now how anyone knew this to be the case, is not clear, considering that it was only Master Mac who found Lucinda--in the morning--sleeping quietly beside the agonised and dead body of her poor mother. For many, it was certain that Lucinda's mother had died from the shock of seeing the gnarled features of her newly born; for how could any woman withstand the sight of so many pockmarks, a permanently half-shut eyelid, a cleft pallet, two thick bushy eyebrows joined in a thorough middle, skin rougher than the hide of a buffalo, and a head covered by smatterings of wispy hair that defied the luscious nature of the unibrow and the obvious stubble over the baby's misshapen lip.

Yes, few could stand to see such a sight, except for Master Mac. He, in his dotage, had observed much in life to be afraid of, and perhaps much more to be disgusted by, and definitely more still that would curdle the milk in any mother's breast. And yet, Master Mac never once thought of applying any of these ugly ascriptions upon little Lucinda. On that grey--but sun promised--morning, all Master Mac saw in his rather filthy and dim pigpen, among the mud, pig swill and bloody remains of a badly gnawed umbilical cord, was a beautiful child of God whose mother--in her last moments--had used her teeth to ensure that her daughter had life, despite the dwindling of her own. And this is how Master Mac will always remember the day his beloved Lucinda entered his life and changed it for better.

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