Someone once told me that freckles are kisses from angels. I’m not exactly sure who — it’s probably the same person who told me that every time a bell rings an angel gets her wings, which makes me wonder if a when a bell rings, the angel who gets her wings is so happy that she just goes ahead and kisses whoever rang the bell.
My mom has freckles all over, like she’s a professional sleigh bell ringer or something. Her brother, when they were young, would take a ball point pen and connect the dots that covered her — an art project their mother very much appreciated on the days before school pictures. I used to be jealous of the way it was almost impossible to tell where the little bits of splattered color ended or began on my mom’s peachy-tan skin. If hers are the Milky Way, mine were a few unknown constellations. A minor dappling in comparison and I wanted more.
In fact, I remember being 10 and watching an old episode of The Brady Bunch — the one where Jan tries to get rid of her freckles by rubbing lemon juice on them. I wondered why she didn’t like her spots, and if maybe I could have hers instead.
My wish was granted as they gathered around my face and arms over the years. Once in a while, at the height of young vanity, I’d mark myself with a brown eyebrow pencil in strategic homage to the freckle’s more glamorous cousin, the beauty mark. My current collection is forgotten every winter and then returns with the first burn, prominent enough at the beginning of each July that I’m identifiable by my otherwise unremarkable complexion: the girl over there with the freckles.
There’s no real moral to the story here. No moment of clarity, no Rorschach test for what currently looks like brown ink flicked across my skin, no intended punchline. Just a celebration of summer skin (wear sunscreen, yadda yadda), and an excuse to ring bells and get kissed by angels.