Fashion Week, cover of Vogue, haute couture fashion, international appearances, and product endorsements propel Lime Prince into Supermodel icon and temporarily away from the realities of her past. Her Ethiopian and Jamaican genes, accented with piercing lime green eyes and a runner’s physique, are the object of every man’s desire and take the New York fashion world by storm. But when the fantasies of beauty collide with the realities of violence, will her sordid past shame her out of the glitz and glamor of the modeling world?
Without Your Permission
AJ’s hospital room was frigid for the first day of spring in Chicago. The white walls, curtains, and linen gave it a ghost-like quality. Except for the steady beeps from the machines, it was dead silent. On the telly, Oprah pantomimed an interview with an elderly couple. I swallowed the lump in my throat before pulling back the white drapery that surrounded her. The sight of grayish black melted flesh on one side of her body forced me to bite my lip to silence the sounds of rage and sorrow that escalated inside. Her hospital gown covered most of the burns, but I could see where the flames had attacked her face, arm, hand, leg, and foot. The damaged skin began at her jaw, spread onto her shoulder, and the top of her left breast. Her left arm was nothing but blackened tissue that stopped midway on the back of her hand. Her left thigh and side of her leg were raw, and her foot was ten shades darker than before. AJ was sleeping, but her face made involuntary grimaces like clockwork. The oxygen mask that covered her mouth and nose exaggerated her breath with each exchange of air. I pulled up a chair, grabbed her right hand, and never took my eyes off my best friend.
In the midst of the deafening silence, I could clearly hear AJ’s words of wisdom as we stood behind Zora Neale Hurston High thirteen years ago. “Never let a man put his hands on you without your permission.” Those words served me well throughout the years; however, neither one of us could have fathomed the horrifying day when she’d need to remember them the most.