You don’t forget the first time a boy calls you beautiful.
You don’t realize until years later that when he was whispering those words, he was permanently engraving them deep inside of you.
You don’t perceive the power that handful of syllables has.
Before he tells you, he looks at you. His eyes peer into yours, causing your face to flush red down to your toes. You half wonder if he’s aware of how he makes you blush. You don’t comprehend what’s happening. You don’t think. You just watch him while he says this to you.
I think you’re beautiful.
You lean into how you’re feeling: you’re a wildflower, freshly plucked. You’re a dainty ballerina. You’re a fuzzy Polaroid picture, the edges blurred, still in the midst of focusing.
You are feminine and beauty. Of course you are — he just said so himself.
You do? You think I’m beautiful?
The stuttered question comes out before you can stop it, and you turn your face down shyly, away from him. You want him to think you’re confident, not insecure.
Then he’s grasping your chin with his long fingers, turning your face back up to look into his eyes. He repeats what he told you before. Surely if he’s said the words a second time, he must believe it. They must be true.
I do. I think you’re beautiful.