Are You a Princess?

“Are you a princess?” Asked the tiny Indian girl wearing glasses.

Her glasses were thick, and her hair was matted like a poorly formed dreadlock. I was taken aback by the clear tone of her voice, afraid that everyone in this laundromat was looking at me. I choked on my saliva, aspirating my first word, “No, I’m not a princess.” The short matted-haired Indian girl immediately ran away from me and her family to sit in the dusty corner. She curled up into a ball and I imagined her putting up imaginary walls or forcefields that only she could penetrate.

            Why did I say that? I started to feel the heat rise to my face. All the customers were looking at me now, probably wondering what I said to the little girl. I could hear her mother muttering to her other children in her native language. I smell detergent in the air, and I feel its pressure change as she stares at me. I want to tell her what happened, but I’m unsure if she speaks English.

            What if I had said yes? Would the little girl still be sulking in the corner? Would they all still think I said something mean to this little girl? Do they think I’m a horrible person now? I touch away a lone tear from my cheek and wipe it on my dress, the only piece of clothing I have that’s clean. This is the last time I wear a dress to the laundromat.