Monday, August 23, 2010

What I See

One day on the bus I saw a big, milky-skinned beauty, strawberry blonde hair in a piled-up coiffe, clutching her purse into her soft round belly, her v-neck revealing a generous cleavage, her one big toe poking from the peep hole in her worn black patent leather flats, the nail badly polished in the first place, chipped now.
We are all, first and forever, bodies.
Within this description, only these few words, one can see whole worlds of hope and aspiration, desperation and almost certain defeat. She is a beautiful girl. About twenty. Her skill in putting up her hair is not matched by a corresponding taste in clothes or accessories, and nail polish is beyond her. Her hopes for her beauty are not supported by any strong interest in her own beauty. Her body is the house she lives in; it is invisible to her now. Despite her own lack of interest, there is a way in which she is counting on her body to solve the problem of what she is to do with herself, her life, her future. Because she doesn't want to trust to her mental capacity, to her ability to come up with an idea that will take her to the next step in her life. It will be a great relief to her to be chosen, claimed, married. Then she will know what to do, who to do it for. Later, when the river into which she will throw herself (her husband, his ambitions, his priorities) changes course and leaves her high and dry on a sandbank, she will explain to all who will listen that she had no choice in anything that came her way and hijacked her life and left her where she has ended up. That was just the way it was at that time. How could she swim against the current?
She is 5' 9"--taller than a girl needs to be, so she feels aggrieved. She gently curses her genetic load. She wishes she were shorter, more muscular, like those spunky little cheerleaders who seem like guy magnets. Her creamy skin--her best feature--she would trade in a heartbeat for taut abs and a killer tan. She has no idea how to gracefully inhabit what she does have, only how to uselessly covet what she will never have. She believes if only she had that tan, those abs, she'd be happy. Because some guy would be intoxicated by her form, her beauty, and then she could love herself if he loved her.

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