True Beauty

April 9, 2008
By Elena Nicolaou, Fair Lawn, NJ

The street is crowded.
People who don’t have time to think rush by.
People who have all the time in the world rush by.
People rush by.
Except for her.
She, who is there every day.
She, who goes unnoticed.
She, who sits alone on a bench, hidden from the sun’s glare.
Hidden from the people’s glare.
But I see her.
And every morning I plunge into the memories her eyes hold.
Memories of a world just lost, glances of a world gained.
Memories of a thousand horrors, of a one true love.
Memories of passion and of youth, of anger and of hate.
Memories that have haunted her, memories that always will.
I study the lines etched onto her face by promises not kept,
Engraved by heartache and loss.
They signed their names next to her eyes, on her cheeks, on her forehead.
She sits hunched, carrying the weight of the world on her frail shoulders.
Time stops as I push past the crowd and take a seat next to her,
As I have done every day, as I will do every day.
And we sit, and we stare.
And we don’t say a word.
Until today.
Today, as she says, “Thank you,” under her breath
As I rejoin the mass of people
Rushing by
And ignoring the beauty right in front of them.

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