Shades and Tones
Childhood was like a cold steel of grayish misery, and I a model of poorly molded mousy brown clay misshapen by the hands of poverty and neglect.
At first glance, you see a child walking toward you - and then after a slow realization, you understand that your brain has played tricks on you. In actuality, this is just a very short adult. A four-foot-eleven adult that looks nothing like the photos you've been shown of her on her social media. To call this woman homely would be an insult to the ugliest of humans. The images posted to Facebook are of a smiling brunette with cute and charming angular features prominent cheekbones, lustrous white skin, and stylish clothing. This woman is a far cry from the disheveled, short, squat woman that stands before you now. You observe the chintzy brown hair, pasty complexion, flat features, and prominent double chin. She sports oversized “grandma” glasses, which you imagine to be a bold attempt at making others think she is fashionable and ironic. In actuality, this eyewear is the only feature that helps disguise the plainness of her face, much like a smokescreen.
The pandemic hit hard in the small Midwestern town where Veronica lived. The population was predominantly older, and the township was already struggling financially. Walmart had moved in and killed off most of the mom-and-pop shops. Add insult to injury; now Covid-19 was killing an already dying town. Most of the county lived below the poverty level, so when the governor decreed a shutting down of stores and restaurants, the financial strain fell down hard on the townspeople like a sucker punch right to the town’s already empty and aching stomachs.