We sat under the harsh light of the city.
An older man with eyes like the stars passed by.
He saw only her.
But why did he have to look through me to tell her she’s pretty?
My translucent skin is nothingness beside hers.
She shows no mark, no scar, no flaw.
Her skin looks warm and inviting under the street lamps.
She will act like she doesn’t notice,
She will act like she doesn’t care,
But I always see the way she smiles when she thinks no one is watching.
She eats up their attention,
Like they eat up her beauty.
She walks taller when they stare, and they all stare.
I can’t even resent her.
If just one person looked at me with that much admiration,
If my beauty was enough to stop traffic,
You’d never see me walk with my head down again.
I don’t want the 2 a.m. men with too many drinks in their stomach,
The ones that I never invited to stand so close.
I don’t want the desperate old men standing on the sidewalk everyday,
Telling any young thing with a heartbeat that she’s extraordinary.
I don’t want the backhanded compliment:
“She’s an odd kind of beauty,”
As if admitting that I am simply beautiful is too difficult a concept.
Maybe I’m rarely the last choice,
Maybe I never am,
But maybe just one person could see me as their first.
Maybe they will notice my best friend after they’ve already seen me.
Maybe they won’t hesitate before saying the simple words,
“You are beautiful.”
Inspired in part by the story I’ve been working on for NaNoWriMo in which the main character (Grace) sees her best friend (Penny) as this other-worldly kind of beautiful, inside and out. Grace isn’t exactly wrong, though. Men and women alike stare as Penny walks by. It wears on Grace, causing insecurity about herself, feeling incredibly inferior.