in pursuit of something beautiful

She has never been beautiful to me. I don’t mean to say she isn’t pretty. She’s top heavy, to be certain. Like she spent so much time staring into the mirror perfecting what was already gorgeous that she let the rest of her go to seed.
Parts of her are breathtaking, and seeing them is always breathing for the first time.
Parts of her are grotesque, rotten and soft in too many places. You learn to ignore these parts, even though you stand the risk of catching what festers there.
People say she’s beautiful. They say it and they set their mouths and narrow their eyes and you are to agree with them or you are to go elsewhere.
“Sure,” you say. “She’s beautiful.” They proclaim her lovelier than the rest, with more. That’s why the others hate her, they say. She is more than they are.
But she says this looking into the mirror, and the mirror smiles back, and she forgets that beauty is not created in a vacuum and she is not the world. She takes up a great deal of room, and even the spaces that aren’t hers have her name on it.
She doesn’t see how beautiful the others are.
You wonder about them, but you dare not avert your eyes. You wonder if it was ever okay to question her aloud. Not now, but you think once. Once upon a time.
Not for you, of course. Never for you.
You long to be alive within her, though you will never be a part of her.
You’ve spent so much time staring up at the possibility of her you can’t see past her otherness. The things that fade her and ruin her.
You want to leave. You should.
But where to go? What beautiful brilliant splendid things are there? You spent so much time trying to make her beautiful to you, you forgot what beauty was.
You are afraid to leave her. How to say it?
I want to leave.
What to say? They will ask why. Why? It’s perfect. She’s not perfect, but we know her.
There must be beauty here, you insist. Just not here.
You leave. You don’t completely abandon her, if it would indeed be abandonment. You don’t think anyone would miss you if you left her, but you can’t completely let go. You want to see another side of her.
You want to see what they see when they pledge to her and die for her and dare you to question her. You want to know what they know when they tell you she is better.
Surely they know something you don’t?
Surely there is beauty in her?
Surely the decay that ruminates within her, the desolation that you see, surely that is only in the part that you see.
You leave in search for something beautiful. You hope you don’t have to travel too long. You’ve been without a home for long enough already.

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