'Wait for Black Friday' was what it said.

She stared at herself in the mirror, turning this way and that, just to be sure she qualified for Valentine's Day. But her bottles of lotion shook their disapproval, her face scrub hid it's face in shame, so low it hit the ground. Her natural spices and oils had their noses wrinkled in distaste. Three months, a hundred thousand and nothing to show for it. A shard of glass pierced her thumb but she took no notice. She cleaned her tear streaked face before walking out, a bloody path in her wake. Modupe, h34 housemaid, would do the rest, she was going to the mall.

The lighting was white, the air was pink, with she the only dark thing to give it character. Her mind was only on what she needed. Her fingers ran over the bottles and bottles of lotions and scrubs, they'd shift back as though ashamed to face her scrutiny. She finally stopped in front of one, it was slim and beautiful. 'Lady' it called itself. It didn't bow, didn't retreat into the shadows. It stood there, the 'fast action' in full view. Tall and proud, just like she wanted to be, just as she would.

She got home, the entire building alive, the doors stood straight as if they did not recognize her presence that's why they didn't shift a little in disrespect. Laughter rang through the hall and she followed it to the living room. They were back, her other sisters, the two fair ones. They see the bag in her hand and they both smile but say nothing. Her mother looks away, but her daddy is staring at her face. The warning in his eyes clear.

Her daddy came in to her room just before dinner, heading straight for the table. He found it, she had left the seal on to make it easier. He scaned the body and "hydroquinone" was all he said, staring at her."What colour is fair?" came next but she did not respond. The bottle twirled in his hand, and he tried again " You spent ...""Nothing more than you spend on your daughters" she said, not letting him finish."Other daughters", he said, but without its usual heat. He shook his head, dropping the bottle with the subject.

She went through his posts again when her daddy left. Lawson's 'Valentine is for fair people, wait for Black Friday' was still there, and a lot of people had reposted. She threw her phone across the bed. He would of course say that she was fair like the rest of her family. But she knew that she was only close, and that's after all the normal things that she did on her skin. There's no natural reserve of fairness waiting to be unearthed, they'd all been exhausted.

She logged into her mental health app as soon as she got to her phone, the 'Black is Beautiful' bold and golden over her headrest, courtesy of her mother. She would have picked sad, but the yellow caught her eye, and so she picked happy as her mood instead. Just before her mind warned that she was lying to herself, right after she brushed it off as the answer for tomorrow. For tomorrow will be happy, will be yellow, will be fair...

She cupped her cheeks and stared back at her reflection. She looked ... new, changed, beautiful. She walked into the dining room and there was an audible hush. They would have turned white had they been any fairer. But she did not notice, the heat once normal was becoming worse. So so hot...The white hospital lights were blinding, coming in and out of focus like a searchlight and then it was dark, dark, dark...

"What color is fair? Fair is yellow, yellow is happy, yellow is fine. But black, black is beautiful." - Nneka Okoro, 2008 Winner of The Beauty Contest Of Montessori Academy.


Daddy loves you.

Algae was already covering the 'b' of the 'black' on the tombstone.