Short Stories

Beyond the Face.

She injected the transaction with politeness and respect as the cashier scanned her large cookie, hot Cheetos, gummy bears, and liter of grape soda. That sweetness she was pinched for as a kid if she didn’t do is what ignited what the cashier said next.

“Thank you,” she smiled, shamefully grabbing her bag of snacks.

“Have a nice day,” the cashier genuinely said.

“You too,” the girl smiled back looking down.

“You have a beautiful face,” the cashier spat out.

The compliment was spat out of her mouth and landed on the girl’s hat, which swallowed up her hair and darkened her face like a shadow. She felt that compliment. It lingered in her mind. And she stood there, holding up the line. All of the two a.m. clubbers and wanderers peeked from their spot in the line to glimpse at this face the cashier said is beautiful. They didn’t even get antsy or rush her, they just stared.

They watched her take off the faded old cap and let her sweaty hair flow free.

“My face is beautiful?” she asked.

“Yes,” the store said in unison.

“What about my body?” she said, her voice shaky and mousy and dry.

She then slipped her dress down, revealing stretched marks running up and down her mocha body like an infinite highway, a large belly stuffed with comfort food and stress, and gapless thighs full of cottage cheese. No one said yes to her second question. In fact, no one said anything. They were all still looking at her face, not even daring to go below the neck. And she stood there, vulnerable and exposed, holding up the line waiting for them to see it. It was too large not to see. She might have even let them touched it. But she wanted them to see it. Acknowledge it. Love it like her face.

“So is my body,” she whispered to herself.

 

Thanks for reading! This was actually inspired by a true event, but a very hyperbolic version of it. One night at Circle K after a night out, I was talking to the cashier as she checked my stuff out, and she told me I had a beautiful face. I don’t know if she said it because I had a hat on or because I was polite. But, I said thank you and went on about my day. Then in my head I was like, she said my face is beautiful. What does she think about the rest of me? But it doesn’t really matter, because I know what I think–everybody and every body is beautiful. I am comfortable with mine, and I hope you all are as well! This small scene was a weird and experimental piece of taking an unfinished conversation and humanizing it. Hope you enjoyed! Happy Tuesday! Comment your thoughts, and subscribe below!

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