Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Beautiful

Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Beautiful

Article excerpt

"I AM SICK OF PEOPLE TELLING ME HOW 'BEAUTIFUL' I LOOK," she said, flatly. The obvious discomfort registering on my face pressed her on, her insistence rising with the flush of embarrassment in my ears. I had, of course, just greeted her with a hug and told her that she looked beautiful. "I know when I look beautiful, and this isn't it. Far from it."

I understood the root of her frustration, because this was a woman who had known the kind of effortless beauty few women ever experience, and her flair for the theatrical and her love of a good face painting made her even more adept at climbing into the pantheon of Great Beauties from which "ordinary" people are barred entry.

But, even then, the summer before she took leave of us, she was beautiful. She of the long fingers crowning an elegant hand, the green eyes that saw more adventure than the lips below them would reveal--even though she also had the forthrightness and frank storytelling ability innate to her Southern stock.

She reminded me that "to live" was a verb, it demanded action, as opposed to plain old "existing," in which passivity reigned and life just happened to you. …

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