When I was born, I was covered in a soft downy hair, a floating cloak of microscopic blades of satin which curled around my dimples. I had chocolate brown hair with the letter ‘C’ circling in front of my little rosebud ears and at the nape of my neck, it was ungroomed, zigzagged and not heavy enough to fall with its own weight but distinct enough to be starkly apparent against my pink skin. A darker circle of pink, a blotted ‘O’ was half hidden beneath my hairline but its visibility to my parents prompted them to name me Olive. Did they have the foresight to know that I would indeed turn out to have olive skin unlike either of them? Sometimes you just know. Not that I could have known all of this of course, it was told to me in bedtime stories, woven in and out fairytales where I was the beautiful Princess Olive. Who ever heard of a princess called Olive?
Princess Olive wore glittering sequinned gowns with collars like oyster shells lined with pearls which obscured the magical mark on her neck or at least took the eye of the beholder away from its site. Princess Olive went dancing in purple palaces, overhung by sweeping turrets with shuttered, perfectly square windows swathed in violet silk. One night, Princess Olive danced a waltz with Prince Charming and she was besotted with the look of him. He swept her across the dance floor like a dragon fly skipping over the surface of a pond and he gazed at her intently. Such was their love that they never said a word but lived happily ever after. Their love grew over the years and they died together.
The real Olive, that’s me, is still looking for the strong silent type.