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Beautiful

Walking down the hot newly paved driveway made me want to lie down, spread out and stretch like the cat I never had; soak it all in. With each step my toes squish then bounce back. One… two… three… four… five… five toes. If I had one less it would have matched my age. This made me smile, the idea that I was almost old enough to match my toes. Rising up on those toes, I walked like a pageant girl, waving my plump hand next to my equally corpulent cheeks. Pursing my ruddy lips, I tilted my face up to the sky, glossy curls falling back over my shoulders, and kissed the sun. The flowers grazing the pavement rose up and applauded; the trees whispered their cheers. Encore! Encore they cheered! Flexing my hands at my sides, I took a step and spun into a graceful twirl as the wind announced my name. “Daddy!” I shrieked, “Look! Will I be as beautiful as the girls on TV?” I could feel my eyes glistening into his head a million miles up.
“Beautiful? Like the girls on TV?” he squinted at me and cocked his head, took off his gardening hat and gave me a look with the most sincerity I have ever seen in a human's eyes. He moved his tall frame over my stout shadow, and placed a large hand covering my whole back. “No, You most likely will not be as beautiful as the girls on TV” My muscles became stony, and the once warm hand on my back was a pillow smothering my fantasy. My little brows furrowed as a crude frown crept onto my lips.
“Kiddo, you’re never going to be the prettiest, the smartest, or the funniest girl there is. You’re never going to be the best at something, There will always be someone who is Prettier, Smarter, or funnier. And that’s just life!”
My adoring flower fans began to wilt, the trees held their tongue’s, and the wind stood still, all watching my eyes squint and well up with the tears of broken four year old dreams. “But If you try your best, then none of that should matter” and with that he stood and walked away, going back to his work.
I looked back at my once cute toes, which now looked like stubby worms. My ruddy lips became pale, and the glossy curls became limp. But my eyes kept glistening as tears tickled my cheeks. I continued walking down the driveway, only this time with less bounce in my short steps, slapping one foot in front of the other. With the advice he had given me, gradually the flowers sprouted back up, the trees began to whisper, and the sun even knelt down to kiss my face back; all encouraging me to do my best to put a smile back onto the plump face I wanted to call beautiful.




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