Fredericka had never seen herself in a mirror before. Never all in one piece. She shot a glance around the room as if she needed permission, as if her reflection was forbidden. This was not the watery image of her face in the creek or her shadow in the Big House windows. The mirror reflected her clearly, from head to toe, at fourteen, still a stranger to herself.
The girl in the looking glass was tall, thin, and brittle as a stick-built chimney. She touched her brown hair swirling to her shoulders in a mist of curls and stared back at her eyes, glinting green and gold like sun-shocked river pebbles. These were not innocent eyes, not cunning or sorrowful, but a combination of features gazing at her with the undiscovered strength of an old soul.
Leaning in, she examined her complexion: neither the pure white of the Master’s dinner plates nor the char black of her mother’s hearth. Her skin had the varnished hue of unspun flax powdered with freckles. Everything about her seemed delicate except for her feet, which were flat and broad, having never been corralled by shoes. She ran her hands over her budding chest and fingered her protruding ribs, observing her limbs, appraising her parts and their connection to the whole.
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