Smith College, Northampton, MA
Tell me when you realized you were beautiful.
Was it when you spent a summer morning lying in the grass? Bees buzzed around your head, thinking you a flower from the vibrant hues of your shirt and the floral perfume you decided to roll onto your wrists that morning. Your eyes glazed over while staring into the depth of the bluest sky you’d ever seen. You nestled into the grass like you belonged there, the damp dirt cold on your skin. The breeze rustled through your clothes and turned them into wings, and you thought that you could fly, if you wanted to.
Or was it that autumn afternoon during the first few days of school, when you sat outside with your friends during lunch? None of the teachers had assigned homework yet, so your lunch hour was just for you. Sitting in a circle, surrounded by the kind of friends you never thought you’d have, you couldn’t help but smile. You smiled so much your cheeks hurt. Everything was silly jokes and pasta out of tupperware and picking at the grass until your fingertips were stained green. You laid down for a moment, staring up at the swaying trees that stood tall on the front lawn, and wondered if you’d ever felt more grown-up.
Maybe it was in winter. You stood out in the falling snow, feeling the flakes settle on your eyelashes and adorn your messy hair. You looked like some kind of majestic figure, you thought. Divine and graceful. The snow drifted peacefully for a while and then gained speed, swirling rapidly in all directions. The once soft flakes now whipped wildly at your skin like tiny, frozen blades. Eventually you ran inside and began stripping off your boots and jacket, leaving morsels of packed snow all over the wooden floor. The heat of the house made your fingers and toes go numb, and you felt the pink rising in your cheeks. You made your way to the kitchen, grabbing the milk and your favorite mug, already tasting the sweet hot cocoa on your tongue.
But perhaps it was in spring, one of those golden evenings where your hair glowed auburn and the scent of sweet flowers wafted around you. The air sat atop your skin like a gentle blanket, just enough pressure to feel like a hug. As days melted into liminal stretches of time where nothing mattered, you felt your soul expand into your whole chest because the world was yours for a little while. You sipped on iced chai and admired the specks of white and yellow and violet that peppered the lawns. Everything seemed so soft, so young. Honey-colored shadows rolled along the walls of buildings, and the sunset turned the clouds pink, and you felt welcome in your body.
To me, you have been beautiful in every moment. I just didn’t know how to tell you.