"Beautiful" By Hyla M.
Oh, she is beautiful! She with her long raven hair that always falls so perfectly around her face, no matter how many times she pulls it in and out of its tie without a mirror. Oh, she is beautiful when the sunlight melts her dark eyes and lights up the buttery gold in the center of her irises. Oh, she is beautiful and she has changed so much since I met her, but I have always known she is beautiful.
She talks with her hands and with her body, dancing on her toes and leaping around, always the most energy in the room, never still for a moment unless she’s perfectly content, and God knows the last time she was. Her laugh is so familiar to me, and the way she tips her head and opens her smile widely, but no sound comes out because everything is focused on her feeling of happiness and not on the projection of it.
She has always been the beautiful one, but I have never minded it once. Some beautiful people are so radiant that anyone standing beside them is outshone, but she has beauty that enriches her friends. Since I have stood next to her, I have become more beautiful, and I am thankful for her every day.
She is beautiful in happiness, and in sadness, and in rain, and in shine, and in snow, and in anger! Her fury is a part of her beauty, if only because her anger is so focused and righteous that she needs to make this world a better place in any way she can, because she is so infuriated by how society has failed her and anyone she chooses to care for that she must fight against it.
Ask any one of our friends, ask anyone at our school, ask anyone who’s seen her. Of course her face is beautiful, but her heart and her mind and her soul and every part of her being is so radiant. She is so smart, for lack of a worthier word, she is so wise. She has made me better in every way because she has fought for me, when I never expected anyone to.
I met her-- she met me. She met me in a study hall in 2011, when I had no friends. She decided we would be friends, and we were, and we are. Her ambition, her strength, her loyalty, her genius. Oh, she is beautiful!
Oh, she is beautiful! Her short brown hair that she once shaved all away, her blue-grey eyes that are wider and brighter than any I’ve ever seen. Oh, she is beautiful, so small when she jackknifes her knees to her chin and locks her thin fingers together, so vast when she stands her ground and pushes back against the people who shove her down. Oh, she is beautiful, and she has changed so much since I met her, but I have always known she is beautiful.
She rages against everything that has ever held her back, against the people who broke her down a thousand, a hundred, fifty years ago, and her fury holds the power of a thousand generations. If you were to simply see her, you would think she was so afraid of the world and of what it might do to her. Her leg shakes, her eyes stare, her fingers fidget, she jumps at small noises. But no, when you assume that she’s afraid of what could happen to her, you are wrong. She is not afraid, she is wise, because she knows what the world has done to her, and she is strong enough to stop it from happening again.
Oh, she is beautiful! She is beautiful! There is so much in her eyes and her face, in her wild laugh and even in the way she hides herself in G’s arms and practically climbs her like a tree at every opportunity.
Oh, they are beautiful. They have taken my life and transformed it into something more beautiful than I expected it to be, so young as we are. I don’t know how to express my admiration for everything that they say and that they do, except perhaps with this:
From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain, and nourish all the world.
Oh, she is beautiful.
Hyla M. is a writer in Thetford, VT.
"I was raised in a house like a library, by parents who treated me like a third adult from a young age. It's because of them that I love words and stories as much as I do, and I suppose from the beginning I've always intended just to write something that would stay with a reader and provoke a thought or a memory or a feeling."
On her essay:
"I wrote this piece as a tribute to a pair of my close friends, who have both come to me in troubling times. I never feel like I've said enough to the two of them to really communicate how much I admire and appreciate them, so this was my way of trying to express that."