I see her everyday on my way to work and around town. She’s new. Sometimes I see her at the café, and the look on her face as the first sip of coffee hits her shows a sign of what she once was – pure, unadulterated pleasure at this simple treat brings a slow smile, one that radiates warmth and such marvelous affection in that expressive face! There are other glimpses of her beauty: she will wear a vibrant hat sometimes, or her accessories pop while everything else remains plain. She never wears makeup, her hair remains the same, pulled back in a plain bun, her smile is still hesitant, but she is more beautiful each and every day.

    I wonder who she is; I wonder what her story is. I find myself looking, stealing long hungry glances at her. She reminds me of someone, and when I see she’s caught me looking, I feel ashamed, as though I have no right to even look upon her. I don’t, but she never chides me like most would. She doesn’t warm up to me though.

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    Sometimes, I see her with a sister, or someone who appears to be her sister. Even together, they are aloof. I think of how so many families are so distant to each other, and I wonder what happened in their lives that they’re not close to each other. They’re both beautiful, and I know them to be hard workers. As much as I itch to talk to them, find out what happened, especially my favorite, the one with bold color choices. But I fear the truth may spoil my fantastic ideas. Instead, I’ll keep thinking of the beautiful woman who does not need surface paint, or all the accoutrements others do to stand out. She is simply, beautiful.


    She once stood in a corner waiting to be taken far, far away. Now, her carriage shows wisdom – wisdom that she has gained over 35 years. It has taught her to keep her heart hidden, untouched beneath a veneer of smiles, kind words, easy deflections.

    Her lips are plump, quick to smile, showing bright white teeth. Almost as quickly, her hand covers the smile, as though hiding the fact that she feels some sort of pleasure or happiness. Her heavy lidded eyes once made her look sultry and tempting. Now, with a zigzag of fine lines they have drooped, and despite a smile now and then, she seems sad.

    Years of hard work under the hot sun have left permanent marks on her cheeks, brown imprints that deepen as the mercury rises. Short black hair frames the oval of her face, and every so often, wisps float across her forehead and cheeks, giving her a sweet innocence.

    She stands alone, in a cherry red dress that hugs her slight figure. Her hands are wiry and strong, callused palms and unpolished fingers nervously straightening her skirt as it flares out. Her muscled calves lead down to her as-unpolished feet, strapped into sensible sandals. Hers is a life of the bare minimum, and any chance to be comfortable, she takes.

    Once upon a time, she was a fierce beauty, young, plump and ripe for the picking. Picked by the wrong man, her life took on a different path, nipping her blossoming in the bud. The bottle, the constant betting and spending, it all changed her life. He once traded her for an outstanding bill.

    Her spirit broken, she made the right decision, choosing to leave, rather than stay and endure more humiliations. Cane fields where the harsh glaring sun beat down on her, stifling factories sewing luxury clothing for a pittance, serving fast food fried chicken, but never, never once lying down for money.

    The chance came for a fresh start, and she jumped at it. Now she is in a new place, a new home. It envelops and embraces her warmly. The sun shines on her, but instead of a fierce heat, the rays caress her and soothe her soul. The work is hard, but it is satisfying. Her beautiful hands work on making things pretty – so she is always in her element. She feels like herself more and more every day. The memories of her pain and her other future cut short no longer sting as much.

    She has found an inner reserve of strength. Her resilience surprises her more than anything, for she once was being groomed for a life of luxury. Now here she was, working for herself. No children, which for once, she is grateful for. When she fails, she is only failing herself. Slowly, as the days, weeks, and eventually months pass by, she finds herself more comfortable. She no longer has the need to go, go, go away. Those hesitant smiles no longer take long to show, and it seems every day she grows more and more beautiful. Age, experience, and life have combined to make her stand out. Beauty within and throughout will forever define her.

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