Day 114 (Daily Prompt): Absolute Beauty — “pure bliss, like biting into a chocolate eclair and being bitten back”
We’ve all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do you agree? is all beauty contingent on a subjective point of view?
[Please excuse weird formatting issues and come on in!]
Setting aside the whole issue of inner vs. outer beauty, and replacing “beauty” and “all beauty” with “absolute beauty” in the prompt to which I’m responding please (I was thrown off by the title), my SHORT ANSWER: No.
YOU were an absolute beauty. Our relationship required no explanation … on my part, anyway. I said, “I’m going out with AB.” And people said, “Oh!!! [Really? How’d you manage that?]” I have no idea what it was like for you. You know, I was/am not an absolute beauty — but I had those big boobs and a “great personality.” You liked my eyes (or lips?), but there were/are definitely some (as)symmetry issues here and I understand that the symmetry of facial features is a defining criterion in beauty. One eye IS bigger, higher set (?), than the other — as a MUCH later boyfriend, an architect and not an AB, noted … nearing the end of THAT relationship. It’s true, and I definitely didn’t/don’t have the cute, button nose that seemed to be favored then (still?). But you didn’t seem to mind, AB. And we found out, together, what it felt like to be adored: you by a cute kid, me by a Greek god.
My father liked to say my sister and I were “good looking enough.” Not knowing exactly what he meant, I found (still find) the statement to ring true. Absolutely beautiful people have unique hardships, I’ve gathered, just as especially unattractive people must. I try not to make too much of my children’s good looks, although people often comment on them.
AB and I met in our early teens in a dark movie theater during a scary movie. We had each been dropped off by parents, with a group of friends. I turned my head during the super scary parts (pretending to be frightened) and discovered AB there (must have already noticed him), behind me. He laughed at me. At some point, we started holding hands. Our summer-time romance escalated quickly. After several hour(+)-long phone calls, we began meeting half-way between our houses, about three miles (and at least one world) apart, on our bikes. We spent as many days as we could — when I was supposedly at the pool — “playing house” at his house (which always ended up with our lying in his bed, making out) … while his mother, a nurse, was at work. I don’t think I ever met her.
Their home was very small (a perfect one-story rectangle), was “too close to the road” (I could imagine my father, and now my husband, saying), and mainly contained things that would be useful on a daily basis. Although the place was usually quite neat and clean, it felt empty: they didn’t have a checker/chess table, or an art station/area, or bookcases full of books, or a ping-pong table in the garage. I never saw where they kept their “recordings” or photo albums. I also noted — no mudroom or foyer; no guest rooms; no office. The only two bedrooms had a Jack-and-Jill bathroom between them. (This “Jill” kept her things very clearly to one side of the sink, in a “Florida!”-themed bin.) Overall, the decorations seemed nice enough to me at the time (I recall a painting of sandals in the sand), but were of the type I would later learn to recognize as tacky. The fact that AB lived here, in such a small and simple place, made him all the more miraculous to me.
AB’s older brother, who was quite B but a bit chubby and so, also (like me), not an absolute beauty, seemed merely tolerant of his perfect sibling, though he was always sweet to me. He already knew. Get it while you can, girl… . I did. I will never forget kissing AB — pure bliss, like biting into a chocolate eclair and being bitten back, again and again, on summer afternoons that seemed to last clear through to the next. YES! I want you. I want you, too. Now and now, again. And now? Yes, now too. Again? Yes. Can we keep going like this? We can. Always? Always. Always. And always. Kiss me.
After a couple months of that came the creeping realization — for probably the first time in my life, in the romance dept. — that things are not always as they appear at first. As kind and polite as we were to each other (I followed your lead), strong as that initial attraction was, as well as the immense validation I felt at being chosen by an AB (beauty meant so much then), we were not that great of a match … on any level. I was stifling feelings of boredom with our conversations, disdain for his taste in music, and true bafflement that anyone’s favorite color could be maroon. He wasn’t funny. At all.
Then school started again. AB was off to the high school that was still a year away for me. He was a “super jock” (as it turned out) and I guess I was more of a fun-loving slacker. As the school year progressed, I continued to hang out with my usual crowd, which I had instinctively kept at a distance from AB, and our communications became shorter, less frequent. I called a few times. He called a few times. But it was soon obvious: everything was changed.
What was there to do? I was “devastated,” especially when I listened to certain Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks songs, which I played over and over again, transcribing the lyrics and then customizing them for AB and me. “Beautiful Child” and “Storm” were my favorites. (Had to look these up just now.) I never shared these horrendous “poems” with him — they were really for me anyway, I guess, enhancing the slowly-being-dumped (by an AB) process.
“Beautiful [AB’S NAME HERE]
Beautiful [AB’s NAME HERE]
You are a beautiful child
And I am a fool once more.
We fell in love when I was [fourteen]
[The summer days flew by]
[If you know what I mean]
I bite my lip, can you send me away?”
Then one day, maybe in late October, AB called and apologized for having been out of touch, talked about how great high school was, how busy he’d been. He said he missed me and wanted to see me. “I have a friend now with his license — he can drive us wherever we want to go.” It sounded fun, so we arranged a place to meet. Nothing terrible happened, but whatever we had was clearly gone. Looking back, I see he was practicing then for bigger, better prospects. I remember, on the radio: “I’m hot-blooded, can’t you see? I’ve got a fever of one hundred and three. Come on baby, can you do more than dance?… “” while he dry-humped me as his friend watched in the rear-view mirror. I couldn’t wait to get home to my poems. “Thanks,” he said when they dropped me off. (“Thanks?”) And he promised to call me later.
After that, after several weeks of not hearing from AB and learning that he had been bumped up from Junior Varsity to Varsity football — just because he was SO GOOD, it was settled: I had been left behind. I pushed on in my own social scene (not wanting to seem hurt, nor to miss out on any fun), but I was irked that he had never actually SAID goodbye. How fucking maroon of him! I was irked also that I didn’t know what he was up to. The rest of the story, please? I began asking around.
A neighbor, a younger girl whose older sister had recently had a party, said he had attended with a date — “his new girlfriend.”
“Who is she?” I asked.
“Do you really want to know?”
She said: “It’s bad. Really bad.”
“[AB-squared],” she told me, averting her eyes.
FUCK! NO! HER? OH MY GOD, NOT HER. ANYONE BUT HER!!!
This was like hearing that he was dating Cleopatra or G_d’s own daughter.
AB-squared was probably the most beautiful girl anyone in a 15- to 25-mile radius had ever seen in real life. Her beauty was legendary. And she lived right across the street, diagonally, from me. My friends and I used to watch her and her friends, secretly from the house directly across the street, as they practiced their cheer leading routines in her front yard, marveling at her perfection.
I still remember my best friend trying to comfort me about AB & AB-squared and finally, after less than a minute, there was just this awful silence. There was nothing to say. Not “Well, he’s not THAT great.” or “She’s probably not so pretty without make-up.” — because WE all recognized their absolute beauty. And beauty was just about the most important thing in our lives at that point in time.
I can’t imagine what it’s like between two ABs; those two didn’t last very long, for whatever reason. I don’t know what happened to him — he is not even remotely connected, via a friend of a friend of a friend (that I can see), on Facebook. She, according to the same source, is doing great, like everyone else on FB. But really, she’s made a profession out of “fitness” and appears to be living a good life with a nice, regular-looking guy and their children, including a few ABs. She is still AB-squared, just an older version; she looks happy.
Till tonight, I have not thought of either of them (much) for more than two decades. (I am often surprised by whom/what I do recall frequently over such stretches of time.) Certainly, my idea of what is beautiful — just like of what is right or true — has shifted and expanded, become more nuanced and less clear-cut, since then. I think I’m beautiful, in a way, but to explain why would take way too much (more) of your time.
But what you might call “absolute beauty” is in a completely different category. I do think reasonable, well-constituted people know it, feel it — just like they do what is right or true — when they come across it. It’s just: BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No explanation required. No debate. There it is. And that makes it special in my book, like anything that points toward even the possibility of certainty about anything at all.