Beauty Is... This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 19, 2009
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The window lets in a reptilian light that trails sadly on my floor; its image slithering through the carpeting and illuminating the dust that lingers in the air. The late afternoon sun sighs, exhaling its heat into my room. Hot and still, we both look at the item on my bed.

I didn’t mean to turn out this way. I know it’s wrong, I really do. At the core of me, I feel cold. With every pulse, I feel disgust with myself, and the beat gets faster and faster until I sit down on my bed.

That item on my bed fills me with so many different emotions: ones that threaten to overcome me and break down, disgust, the feelings of taboo entering and circulating around my mind, and a comfort and satisfaction that make the whole thing worth it.

The white bra is faded, more beige now. Crumpled, it hides in the creases and waves of my bed sheets, too embarrassed to show itself, too frightened of what we are both about to become. Usually it stays in my bathroom vanity, and, now in the light, it doesn’t know what to do except sit and wait.

I grab the bra in my hands, feeling the smooth lace cups in my hands. I take off my shirt and fold it, resting it on my pillow. Sliding my arms into the bra, I struggle at first with the clasp, as I always do. Once it fits, I loosen the shoulder straps so that, instead of strangling my chest, it hugs me.

Whenever I change, I feel at home. I feel so much better, less stressed out, and more me than I have ever felt. When I’m with my friends, sometimes I don’t know which jokes to laugh at, or how hard I should laugh, which movies I should lie about and say I have watched. But right here, right now, I am not lying to myself any longer.

I walk back into the bathroom, which is thankfully attached to my room. Inside that vanity a coil of pantyhose lies, along with the rest of the supplies. I unraveled them and brought them back to the bed.

I stretch out the pantyhose so that the two skinny, stretchy lines form a parallel stream that runs through my duvet cover and bubbles over the folds of my duvet.

Strangely calm, I roll down the top of the pantyhose so that I can slip my foot in, and pull the pantyhose up. I do the same thing with the other foot, relishing the comforting netting surrounding my legs. The sheer black color subdues me, and my pulse grows slower. I begin to smile, finally feeling at home. I stretch my legs, and walk around the room with them on, relishing the soft and stretchy material coat me.

The skirt is next. I ease it over my thighs, feeling the coarse leg hair sticking out of the pantyhose. Frowning, I resolve to do something about it next time. The denim skirt warms me in the already heated room. The light slinks toward me, illuminating my panty-hosed legs.

Finally, I pulled on my mother’s “going out” shirt. The flirty ruffles crawl over my skin, the silk and rayon feeling like comfort food for my hungry soul. The black looks beautiful against my pale skin, and I eagerly reach for the cardigan, pink and sequined. The sleeves are a little tight, and it is painted over the tops of my arms, ending on my forearms.

I walk out of the room and into my mother’s closet, feeling thankful that she is downstairs. Her makeup sits tantalizingly on her drawers, and I carry it over to her mirror.

Brandishing a mascara wand in my left hand, I cautiously smother my short eyelashes in the ink. After a few coats, I can almost see them grow on my reflection.

I hear footsteps.

“Honey, are you in here? I heard someone clomping around upstairs, it almost sounded like you were wearing heels.” She called this from the hallway, mere moments away from her own bathroom.

I stuffed the mascara wand back into the makeup bag, and I look around. I find her bathrobe perched on the side of the bathtub, and quickly pull it on.


She walks in, flour still sprinkled on her jeans. She looks at me, and takes in the bathrobe.

“Why are you wearing my bathrobe?” My mother asks, and walks towards me as I back away.

“No reason,” I laugh.

She looks carefully at the bottom of my robe, and I look down at myself. I see the silky, nude fabric of the panty hose.

“Morgan, are you wearing my hose?”

“No, of course not,” I laugh again.

She walks towards me, and I can’t walk away. It’s like her gaze glues me to the floor, and all I can do is watch her approach and brace myself. My mother stretches out her hand, once she is close enough, and moves the shoulder of the bathrobe off of me. The bathrobe, being made for a larger person than I, easily falls off to reveal my cardigan.

Knowing I have lost, I take off the rest of the robe, and fold it, matching each corner of the fabric with its match. With my hand shaking slightly, I place the robe back where I found it. It sits guiltily on the edge of the bathtub.

I stand in front of my mother, dressed in my garb. She takes in the sweet fabric of the hose, the horizontal stretch of a jean skirt long forgotten, the silk of her “going out” top, and the tightness of the cardigan on my chest.

“Morgan?” She asks again, and I can’t leave the room fast enough.

Sprinting back to my room, I throw open my bathroom door, yet another time, and take in my flushed reflection.

I see a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing.

I see me, a teenaged boy. Beautiful.

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rachel_poole123 said...
Dec. 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm
so descriptive and beautiful! keep writing. the last line is so meaningful.
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