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On the way home from school, I saw beauty for the first time. She was very busy sleeping, her eyes rapidly darting back and forth like hummingbirds behind delicately closed lids. Her straight auburn hair was a willow tree, falling across her face and hiding part of her angular nose. Round cheeks rested above her jawline, with soft cheek bones that rose up to the sun like sunflowers in spring. Her mouth hung open, like a child, giving her face an even more innocent expression. Her arm was pushed next to the window, hand hanging limply down and forearm expertly placed between the cool glass and her face. The nails were bitten short, fighting to grow their way to her fingertips. The fingers were calloused, and the nails housed enough dirt to plant a seed. Her neck was pale and short, quickly connecting her isolated petals to the rest of her stem. Her shoulders rose and fell slowly, her lungs and diaphragm working ever so hard to sustain her while she slept.

I only saw from her shoulders up, from her gracious peduncle to her bodacious red petals. But I knew the body below was perfect. Tall, short; wide, thin; large, small; it didn’t matter. It was still perfect. I could see the slight bulge of her belly in my mind, the dip in her spine, the curve her body made as it lay dormant in such an awkward sitting position with the seat-belt curling its way across her middle like a moon-flower vine. I imagined the blue plaid shirt peeking over the windowsill of her friend’s car, growing and rising to the sun as she breathed, buttoned all the way down, and that it fell over the waist of faded blue denim that had had one too many washes. I imagined muddy, beat-up flip-flops that revealed tough feet with short nails and thick skin. I could see the purple pansies that bloomed where she had fallen down the other day, because she looked like she would be a klutz. But that’s okay, because I was a klutz as well.

I almost blinked, but reminded myself that we were driving, and blinking could mean one of us speeding up or slowing down, and then I would certainly lose her again. My friends sat beside me and laughed in deep bass and alto voices, and I could almost hear a faint soprano laugh; her whispering, tinkling laughter blooming like a home-grown daisy and pushing like a wildflower set in concrete. I could hear her humming and singing her favorite song, which was probably making its way through the earphones that snaked up from an unseen pocket to her small, round ears. I tried to hear what kind of music would be suitable for this girl, but could find no simple song that could catch her face the way it should. An easy, slow song that would freeze the expression on her face and make me see it again every time I heard it; a harmony that resonated within you and made you think that maybe perhaps you believe in love after all.

She was probably returning home after a long day of school, telling herself that she would just close her eyes for a bit before falling dead asleep. I wondered what at school could have made her so exhausted. Maybe she was up all night doing homework and ran out of coffee in the morning? If we were friends, I would give her some of my coffee, and offer to help her with that Calculus, cause it’s hard stuff, right? And I would hurry down three flights of stairs to catch her before she fell, so that maybe she wouldn’t have so many bruises. And maybe we would hang out some, and she could be my friend, and then a not-friend, and then not-not a girlfriend, and then, well, who knows? But I didn’t know her, had never met her, and probably would never even see her again. And she probably had a boyfriend already; most perfect girls like that do. Only she’s not perfect, she was flawlessly imperfect, and that was what made her beautiful.

I had glanced back over at my friends, to see if they had seen beauty, and found them all staring at the road in front of us, trying to direct Mike to various places. I distorted my gaze back, to find her again, but I discovered that she was gone. She had dissipated as quickly as she came, a wild-onion flower that appeared in the spring and then was gone by summer, almost before you noticed. I opened the window and felt the wind tear my thoughts from my heart, pulling them through my throat and forcing them out from behind clenched teeth. The wind stole my beauty, scattering pieces of her out behind Mike’s car like dandelion seeds, where they planted themselves firmly and hoped for rain.





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Pumpkinscout said...
Sept. 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm
This is great! Keep up the good work!
 
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