Beneath Her Smile
Vanessa Ogechinyerenwa Emeadi
December 6, 2021
“To Be a Queen
you need to act like one. Show them you stand too high for their words to reach you, and when you cry, do it in private where no one can hear you, not even the one's you love. Never appear weak and never underestimate the power of a good eyeliner; your eyes tell stories, some stories you don’t want the world to know about. The eyeliner’s job is to convey a different message…Dawn, do you hear me? Hope you’re taking notes! “
“Are you sleeping? Wake up! Wake up!”
With a start, she woke from the nightmare. It always happened like this whenever a modeling competition came up. She turned to face her partner, hoping she hadn’t woken him. He was sound asleep. She pulled the covers away from herself and tiptoed to the balcony just outside their room. It was raining wretchedly, exactly how she felt. She welcomed it; she was without a robe, only a lace shift which was no protection against the rain. She cried for her lost childhood, for the life she had now, she cried for the irony of it all; she had everything a woman wanted except peace of mind.
She remembered the cold look of her father as he reprimanded her. It wasn’t the words he said, it was the look in his eyes showing how much he loathed her.
Her parents never wanted kids so when she’d come out pretty, they'd enrolled her in modeling; a return on their investment, they said.
She’d never known the kiss of a mother or the hug of a father, instead she’d been told to be grateful for the food in her belly, clothes on her body and shelter over her head. So she’d focused on being the perfect child; never caused any trouble or made a fuss like other kids she’d seen.
She knew no other life than modeling. It was all she was good at. She knew the best routine to get a bright and fresh look, she knew what powder to use to hide the sacks under one’s eye, and she knew what each color of lipstick meant and how to display one's best features. It was scary to think of a life outside modeling, what would become of her? What would her parents say?
She found herself being lifted towards the warmth of her room. Her partner was saying something but she couldn’t hear him. She watched as he took off her wet lace shift and covered her with a towel, before carrying her to bed. She didn’t know she looked like death and was cold to touch. Tears poured down her face but she didn't feel it. She began to shake uncontrollably and it broke the heart of the man who loved her. He kissed her face and held her tight, pouring warmth into her.
"I'm here baby, you're safe." He crooned.
She burrowed into him, holding on. Here was the strength she lacked, by morning, it'll be okay.
about the author
Vanessa Ogechinyerenwa Emeadi
Vanessa Emeadi is a writer based in Lagos, Nigeria. With numerous short stories under her belt, and splashes of poetry to spice it up, she began her own blog called Brazen
Katherine is an artist, vegan activist, and the founder and curator of Creating Freely Magazine. She’s passionate about living on her own terms and maximizing her potential.
Elizabeth Oni is a freelance on-air radio professional, content writer, singer, and video presenter with her own online radio station: Flame Radio.