To say beauty is in the eye of the beholder is to claim that everything is essentially beautiful; it just has to been seen through the right eyes, within the proper context. A picture of a dead dog could be horrific to people, but that picture would be a beautiful piece of photojournalism had been a picture of a dog that died due to drug testing on animals in Singapore; context, it governs us.
Personally I find beauty in tiny imperfections. That line that just went astray in a painting, that bass line that just deviates away from the beat for a second to do a 2 second solo. Life is filled with these little things that fill it with beauty. What I like most about these imperfections is that they almost always go unnoticed, making finding them more rewarding; appreciating them even more. That was all before I saw her.
The events leading up to that instant are now irrelevant. Clichéd as they may be, I ended up in one end of a smoky room discussing the mating habits of the seahorse with a guy that barely seems remotely interested in any marine creature, and a girl dangling around his neck more focused on which would be the best way to bite his earlobe. The dimly lit room was full of these clusters of pseudo-intelligent conversations. I could have sworn someone was talking about politics somewhere until I heard them say “So seriously, who’d win in a fight? The Queen of England or Dr. Stephen Strange?”
Small talk, a tiny imperfection of our human existence that has taken an ugly turn up the shit stream we call society. The entire purpose of the so called social life is to maintain pretentious relationships with people you don’t even care about just to get what you want in the end. This was networking at its best, and I’m good at it, the best. I also come out with the occasional one night stand or maybe relationship, win-win I think, perpetually optimistic as usual. All this came to an abrupt and screeching halt as soon as that room’s door opened.
She walked in, and it was as if my mind went into slow motion. The couple in front of me went out of focus so fast the motion blur lingered in my retina for a second. As I regained control of my sight there was only one focal point, her. To say time stood still would be an understatement, but then again I wasn’t looking at my watch. I was looking at her. Her deep orange hair was gleaming in the dimly lit room, radiating a shimmering glow of red light. Accentuating that long, wild, uncontrollable mane flowing around her head, were her eyes. I first saw them as she removed a stray lock of hair from over her face; they had a magical deep green hue mixed with a yellow that gave the color a taste of mint with a hint of lemon. She looked up with those viridian jewels into my humble pupils, I felt my heart drop two stories below me, my stomach joined in the plummet as I noticed her face, her pale skin glistening in the fiery refraction of light through her hair. This is when I noticed the tiny imperfections, freckles, all over her face like little kisses from the sun. Her face was almost completely covered with these randomly spread spots. I don’t know what it is about freckles that just make the face more beautiful to me; I think it’s the tiny imperfections thing. I appreciate the beauty of that “imperfection”.
Her small rounded nose was also covered in them. The only part that was spared was those lips, full and ripe, like the forbidden fruit, because to kiss such perfect lips would be so good it would only make sense that it would be a sin. Yet on the lower lip one freckle presided on the left side, as if beckoning for someone to approach and embrace those lips with another, in a gentle yet loving embrace; an embrace that would be immortalized in song and lore.
Her hair led me to her neck slender and long. She wore a necklace with a small turquoise pendant hanging from it. I could have sworn it was her neck that made the necklace look good. The pendant rested on the nave of her neck leading my eyes to her bare shoulders, also covered in freckles. My heart sank a little more, I think the neighbors below would complain now as to why my heart was hanging in the middle of their living room.
The turquoise strapless dress she was wearing was simple as it was elegant. It curved at the right places and flowed at the others. I would lie if I didn’t say my eyes strayed back to the center to meet with that freckle spangled cleavage, just slightly showing as to tease the on looker but only enough to be also respectful and classy. The dress curved down to hug her hips and then flowed to end up in a slanted ruffle near her knees. The legs that followed seemed to flow endlessly till they met with those shoes. Now as a guy I claim no intimate knowledge of female shoes, but something told me those were the shoes girls would kill for.
She walks within the crowd as elegant as a specter floating through unnoticed. I was mesmerized I barely noticed I was the only one in the room fixated on her, also that my mouth was now a gaping void that was about to fill with saliva. She extends a hand to the buffet picking up a glass and pouring herself a drink. She looks back in my direction; she knows I see her, yet looks away dismissively. I try to gather whatever courage I could muster and start walking towards her.
At this point a tribe of African natives decide to drum the beat of a thousand drums within my chest cavity. With palpitations resonating in my throat I try to lift my leg to start walking. My brain is trying to protect me, I don’t need protection, I need a spine. I drag my feet through the room. The distance between us within this small apartment was barely a couple of steps, yet it felt like I would have been better off with a plane ticket, if that doesn’t prove relativity I don’t know what would.
I get closer, and closer. I stand right in front of her and suddenly my brain ceases to function. Any form of eloquent speech, or random trivia related to marine animals mating habits have disappeared in a puff of smoke that has joined the cloud of nicotine drenched smog circulating near the ceiling. I slowly open my mouth hoping that by the end of that action some words would come out from in there. A grunt and a mumble, I am surprised I was able to get any sound at all out of my throat. That is what I was reduced to, a grunt and a mumble, caveman conversation all that was left was for me to yell out “me tarzan, you pretty”.
“Excuse me ?” she says, slightly un-amused yet as polite as she could be.
“Er... hi” I reply
“Um… I haven’t seen you around here before”
“ Yes, I don’t usually come to this, but Liz dragged me to this one”
“Oh you know Liz?”
“Who doesn’t ?”
Small talk, yet another tiny imperfection that just shows how simple human beings are. The spark of a conversation that flows between two people ignites this bond between them. It is the basis of human connectivity, a simple hi and a wave. Millions of years of evolution and still the way to get to know someone would always fall down to communication. Be it in physical form or digital form. The smoky room I was in has been replicated so much over the internet it is not even needed for one to go through the effort of physically having to be at a social gathering. It is still done as a form of tradition to prove that one still has that elusive thing we call a “life”.
But what now, do I just keep talking? Do I ask for her number? Ask her out maybe? That stunning creature radiating in the midst of a faded existence, how will I proceed from here? Small talk is all fine and dandy and then we all go home. I decide to take her number after the conversation concluded somewhere around the discussion of the resilience of the African dung beetle and how that inspired the sun cycle in ancient Egyptian mythology. She wrote her number on a napkin and gave it to me with a playful smile from those succulent lips.
It has been a week since that night, the napkin lays there by my phone, both gathering dust. My brain is conjuring up scenarios of rejection and what ifs. My brain is trying to protect me, but I don’t need a brain right now, I need a spine.