I liked how they looked on her, those creases. Wrinkles curved around her mouth when she smiled…and when she didn’t. You could see her former struggles etched across her face and you could see her former joys crisscrossed on top of those. Aging, for her, was like the kind of weathering a sailor experiences – skin externally leathered from the Sun, but innards robust and healthy from the heavy lifting and extended exposure to all that fresh air.
Her skin sagged, giving the superficial appearance of something limp, something quite possibly defunct. But, if you looked closely you could see that the burlapped layer of weary flesh drooped atop bone made of granite. Despite her frail appearance, she had solid cheekbones, a firm jaw, and a steady gaze. If you took the time to really see her, you could see her vitality shining through the outer casing. Once you saw it, it was as though her flesh became transparent. Her spirit blinded.
She was one of those Beautiful People.
I don’t mean the ones with the clearest complexions or the most toned thighs.
The most beautiful people are the ones who are comfortable in their own skin.
She didn’t need the spotlight on herself, she didn’t need to be the top performer in every show.
The most beautiful people are the ones who lift other people up.
She knew her whole self, and she loved all of her parts. Even the really ugly bits she treated with compassion and care.
The most beautiful people are those who always work to become better versions of themselves.
She was one of the ones who had been through hell, and who had always remained determined to come out on top.
The most beautiful people are the fighters.
She wasn’t afraid to expose her true self. She never denied her flaws. She never hid her strengths.
The most beautiful people are the ones who are real.
I liked the way they looked on her because I could tell that it wasn’t that her skin was sagging and lifeless, but rather that her whole self was uplifting. Her epidermis was the only piece of her that couldn’t keep up. She saw me admiring her and she returned my stare with a close-mouthed smile, one that only hinted at the kindness buried just beneath the surface. She pulled me towards her with bird-like arms and squeezed and I was reminded, again, that she was stronger than she looked. I leaned in and rested my head on her shoulder, eager to be held, if only for a few seconds. I foolishly wished that some of her beauty would rub off on me, that like her perfume, some of it would linger after she let go.