Standing at the chalkboard, the child does as the teacher asks. Carefully, using lots and lots of colours, a face is drawn, starting with the eyes. They are amazing, just like all the beautiful girls in the catalogues -- with really long, thick, lush lashes. A nose is added, but before the lips can be drawn, the child stops. It's a beautiful, pretty, girls face and the child knows, with a sense of understanding few will ever achieve, that the face is a dream beyond attainment. So, tears are drawn instead of the mouth. The teacher asks why, but the child has learned not to talk about feelings and answers, "just because."
The years go by and the child learns that prettiness will always be a fantasy to dream but not to experience. Never will a magazine photographer consider that the child is suitable for magazine covers, selling lipstick, or modelling mascara. Nobody really understands and the child cries often; that chalk picture now more of a prophesy than the teacher had ever envisioned.
The child grows and escapes from reality in the library. Photographs are shunned, as are mirrors. Friends are what other children have. All know that the child is gifted and has the potential for greatness, but none see the hidden anguish. When time turns the child into an adult, puberty strips away the last remnants of anything likable or feminine. No longer a real person, but an actor trapped within a biological prison, the child has gone from being the artist to being the canvas upon which others impose a vision of how to look, act, and exist. Sometimes there is rebellion when the actor sleeps, and the tortured soul is unbound to stagger free.
Chalk can be erased. The child's picture was erased at the end of the class. Years later the child is all but erased and is now just a memory behind a tapestry of bitterness and regret. With lifeless eyes and an intellect, that when turned inwards, is capable of the most exquisite self destruction, the actor knows only the scripts for tragedy. With a glass of cheer always in hand, a liquid friend that provides comfort during each act, the play of life nears its inevitable tragic conclusion.
Chalk can be erased. So can a life. The picture is gone, the child is gone, the actor is gone. But the play did not end. A new stick of chalk was found and a new face was drawn. It was much like the first one, but without the tears and with plump ruby lips, curved upwards in a sweet gentle smile.
Several companions have walked beside the reborn child. Each contributed in her own way to helping the child as she voyaged tentatively on a different path with a different destination. One or two stand out as having done something special and important. There was the first who saw past the actor and saw the true being buried away. There was the first to believe that child did not need to act and could be herself. And there was one more who still walks with the child.
The most recent companion, the accepting one, who knows that as the last guises of the actor are cast aside, and the child is left with nothing from before, alone and emotionally naked, needing a home, love, security, and tenderness. This companion provides such things, in her fashion, though most do not really see these acts or understand their significance. But methods and mechanisms aside, when asked why she is smiling, as she often is, the renewed young woman thinks of her companion, and answers "just because."