No one ever talks about the fact that no one truly has their own opinion, not really. Everyone’s opinion or thoughts are always a reflection of someone else. For most children, their thoughts and opinions are based off of what their parents tell them of the world, and they look at the world through tinted glasses because of them. Some people’s opinions are formulated by ideals suggested to them by society, for what is acceptable and what isn’t. And some people have opinions based on experience.
This is the common way that the human mind works, and Belle realized this early on in life, about at age four.
Belle wanted to play with a little girl that she saw on the other side of the fence. This little girl was just like her. Young, pretty, and wanting to play. Belle asked her mummy if she could go over and play, but her mother was horrified at the thought.
“She’s dirty Belle! You can’t play with someone who’s dirty!” Her mom had said. Belle didn’t know what her mom meant. The girl certainly looked clean, and she didn’t smell or anything.
“What you mean mamma?” She had asked, her big eyes trained on her mother. “Why can’t we play? She’s like me, ain’t she?” She had asked, and her mother’s eyebrow furrowed with worry.
“Oh, no, no, no, dear Belle. She’s nothing like you. She’s a savage. Can’t you tell from the color of her skin?” Her mother asked, pointing to the other girl as if she was a zoo animal on display. The girl didn’t have many noticeable diffferences, in Belle’s opinion. The girl just had darker skin and very curly hair, but nothing to make her a savage. It’s not like the girl had fangs or anything.
When Belle’s mother turned her back, Belle had an idea. Why sit and be bored when she can play with the other girl? So she took her doll and walked over to the other girl.
“Hello, my name is Belle, what’s your name?” Belle asked the other girl.
“Nakala,” the girl said, and Belle extended her hand to shake. Nakala looked confused.
“Oh, don’t you shake hands?” Belle asked with a laugh, putting her hand away.
“Why would you shake hands? It sounds stupid,” Nakala said with a smile.
“I don’t know really. It’s just what my mummy and daddy have been doing with everyone they meet, and I didn’t feel like being rude,” Belle said with a smile.
“Well, if you show your teeth, that means that you are greeting someone,” Nakala said.
Belle was confused, so she tucked her doll under her arm, and put her fingers in her mouth to extend her lips, in such a manner that showed off her teeth. “Wike viss?” Belle asked, her fingers still in her mouth.
“No, silly, just like I did,” Nakala said, smiling at Belle.
“Oh. So smiling is a greeting?” Belle asked sheepishly. Nakala nodded.
“You have very pretty hair,” Belle complimented Nakala.
“Really? It shrinks when it gets wet. I’d rather want to have hair as soft as yours,” Nakala said, admiring Belle’s softer curls.
“Can I touch it?” Belle asked, referring to Nakala’s hair. Nakala laughed. “Yes, if I can touch yours,” she replied.
Nakala’s hair was soft like a sponge, but rough like wool. “Wow, your hair is so fluffy,” Belle said in awe. Nakala smiled, and touched Belle’s hair.
Belle’s hair had a more silk like texture, and was more stringy as the individual strands were visible.
“Your hair is so soft, how do you get it to stay in one place?” Nakala asked. Belle was confused. “Our hair doesn’t stay in one place-“
“Bellissa! Get away from there!” Belle’s mother screamed, noticing her daughter’s wearabouts. “Why? She’s nice,” Belle said, and her mother ran up to her, and picked her up.
Belle waved at Nakala over her mother’s shoulder.
“Nakala was nice mommy, why couldn’t I play with her?” Belle asked, looking sad.
“She’s different Belle,” was the only answer her mother gave her.
Belle’s skin was scrubbed till it was red and raw that night at bath time. “To clean off all the germs,” her mom had said, but Belle didn’t pick up any more germs than usual, they just went into town.
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