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The Porcelain People
I had a dream once, about a place where people were obsessed with perfection, and longed for beauty.
Anyone who looked normal was considered ugly.
They found me, and I was brought before a council of sorts.
Everyone was so beautiful, so unflawed. It left me breathless.
They asked if I wanted to look like them and at first I craved to say “yes.” Because it was true, perfection was something I had always dreamed of. I had always desired to be beautiful.
Slowly, I turned a small circle, looking at each of the members of the council. They sat with ideal posture in fine chairs. Every one of them was shockingly beautiful—it was almost frightening.
Each one had their flawlessly stunning eyes pointed at me, all of them lovely shades of vibrant blues and greens, but no brown or gray irises to speak of.
(I figured brown or gray was too dull for them, maybe too monotonous for their radiant faultless features).
None of them had interesting or unique shapes to their noses; they were all about the same size, not too big, not too small— just right.
I could say the same for their ears, none were too big or stuck out, they were all the exact length and height.
The women had just the right amount of curves, in all the right places. Their figures lovely and slender.
All of the women’s hair colors were different shades of blond, with dissimilar lengths and styles. Some had magnificent curls, others stick straight, and a few had neither curly nor straight, but in between. But their hair shined in the most unnatural way, as if it was made from the suns rays.
The men were all broad shouldered and unbearably handsome. Every woman’s dream, I supposed.
All had hair of black, with the same glossiness as the women’s tresses, accept much shorter. And as the women, their hair varied in style—curly, straight, and wavy.
Their skin looked so soft, and so smooth, it resembled stone.
Their frozen smiles all stiffly showed off glistening white straight teeth.
They were as porcelain dolls, I realized.
(I wondered if their faces would crack if they smiled too wide.)
I found myself shaking my head.
“No.” I told the porcelain people.
As this reached their anticipating perfectly sized ears their smiles faded.
“Perhaps you did not understand what we have offered you.” A woman’s voice chimed from behind me. The tone was gentle, but slightly agitated.
I turned to behold the beautiful creature. Her sparkling blue electric eyes, and curly shiny golden locks; and I almost laughed.
For her brow was bent downward quizzically, faintly flawing her perfect face.
“No,” I repeated. “I understand what you have offered, but my answer is still no.”
The entire council was befuddled at my answer. They whispered among themselves. I could make out the fluctuation of surprise and confusion in their voices.
One spoke up, his voice drowning out the others.
“And is this your final decision?”
I faced a man of equal beauty to the woman with the quizzical brow. His eyes were a sharp shade of emerald green, piercing into my own normal green eyes.
“Yes.” I said cautiously.
“But you could be irresistibly lovely.” Declared yet another perfect woman. “Who would refuse that?”
(I gathered the question was rhetorical, but I answered her anyway)
“Me.” I simply said, and complete and utter silence filled the entire room. The word echoed off every corner of the four walls and all was quiet.
“Because it is not the outside that makes one beautiful, but the person they are inside.”
More whispering broke out.
(Something told me they had never heard of such a notion before)
Now all of their faces were marred with questioning and disbelieving looks.
My bravery heightened as I began again.
“Look at yourselves, you’ve been blinded by the beauty of your own bodies for so long—you haven’t stopped to study the beauty around you.”
I pointed out one of the grand windows; my voice becoming stronger.
“How long has it been since you looked outside— I mean, really looked? How many days have you missed a sunset, ignored the brilliance of the moon coming up and the stars coming out. Because you were too preoccupied studying your face in a mirror. How many times have you actually watched the trees sway in the wind, or wondered what it was like to be a bird flying over head?”
I sighed. No one made a sound, it was as if they were all waiting for me to finish.
When I spoke again, my voice had settled to a more natural pitch.
“You miss so much of the truly magnificent beauty in this world, because you’re all too absorbed with the way you look.”
And as the words left my lips, I had an epiphany, in the midst of my own dream.
This was something I myself struggled with. I was so concerned with my outward appearance that I took everything else for granted. Even how beautiful a normal-looking person could be on the inside.
I smiled, and my smile grew wider, and I laughed. I laughed out loud. I spun around in a circle, just laughing and laughing. Then I stopped abruptly; taking in the beings around me.
They all stared at me, expressions of shock and embarrassment plastered on their faces.
“I am beautiful.” I said almost taken aback by my own words.
“Maybe not a perfect beautiful, like yourselves, but I have something you do not possess.” I paused locking eyes with every one of their flawlessly strange faces. “Inner beauty.”
Suddenly, a window shattered, and then another, and another. Glass sprayed everywhere, getting caught up in the whirlwind that had begun blowing madly about the room.
The shards swept through the air, nicking and scratching the beautiful faces around me, but they did not bleed. Instead, they flaked and chipped. Pieces of their flawless skin broke off.
(My assumption was right, they were as porcelain)
Soon there exoskeletons had vanished altogether. Their perfection stripped away. The wind stopped and the debris settled on the floor. And there was stillness.
Underneath were very normal looking people.
Normal, but not ugly.
Their very normal eyes fixated on me.
Some were blue, some were green, and some were even brown.
Their hair colors varied as well, ranging from brown, black to blond and even red like my own.
Some had freckles, some had wrinkles.
Some had big ears that stuck out, others big noses.
Some were stout, some skinny.
Some were tall, others not so tall.
They were perfectly normal people who had gotten lost in beauty.
“Thank you.” A voice said. I turned to see a boy my age stand up from his chair. He walked toward me. His eyes were brown, and his hair dark. He was not perfect, but I found his smile breathtaking.
“Thank you for making us see what true beauty looks like.”
When he reached me, I realized he was not much taller than myself.
He took my hand in his own.
As if on cue, several voices articulated “Thank yous” in my direction. I looked around smiling widely at all the uniquely beautiful faces. They smiled at me in return.
Then my attention turned back to the boy, who still held my hand gently in his.
“You are beautiful.” He whispered.
And then I woke up.