In our bedroom, you tell me a boy has told you that a piece of you is ugly. You ask me to look to see if he is right.
In a restaurant, you lift your bangs to show the way your skin is textured with life. The word never leaves your lips, but as you lament the tiny, imperceptible bumps, I hear the fear of ugliness in your voice.
In front of the trash can, you point to the hair you have pulled from the brush and make shame-faced explanations about where it has come from. I remind you that I, too, have a body.
At the disco, you make no excuses for the space you take up. The shake in your shoulders and the sway of your hips is the loudest thing in the room. You make eye contact with the camera I pull out to document this moment.
Your feet are planted firm, and you do not turn away.
On the stage, you are steady and precise. You follow through with each movement – no last-minute softening of the arc of your arms through the air. When you lock into your final pose, you are unshakable.
On the grass in front of Bowman, you do not let the gentle hum and buzz of our friends’ conversation stop you from absolutely breaking it down to the music pouring its way out of the speaker. They stop to whoop out encouragement, to join you with the sway of their own bodies. Everything is warm with the last echoes of summer, and when we finally go home you only wonder when you will get to dance like that again.
On our couch, sleepy and content, you are flush with beauty.