The Bengal Beat

The eye of the beholder

Aneta Huckova, General columnist

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I knew I could look nice — of course I could. Spending an entire hour in front of the mirror, fixing a curl near my right shoulder that just didn’t want to cooperate.

Light makeup, golden eyeshadow and mascara were making my face free of all imperfection, including the permanent redness in my cheeks. I struck a few poses before I left the mirror, smiling at my own reflection.

He will love it, I thought as I walked outside the door and headed to school. Rushing, I passed my favorite bakery. I reminded myself of my lipstick; I can’t ruin it at the start of the day.

When I entered the classroom, throngs of people were spread out, talking over each other, laughing at stupid jokes they thought were funny. A few people hushed the others while trying to read a book roughly the size of a dictionary.

“Aneta, you look beautiful today!” John grinned and rolled his eyes as I twirled in front of him, trying not look too happy at his compliment.

“Yeah, I love those curls, is that with a curling iron or curling pins?” Nicole asked, gently touching my bouncing curls. I felt like my hour in front of the mirror was worth it, but I was most excited to hear his opinion.

“You do look nice.” He smiled. It was warm like morning tea, and sent shivers through my body. My excitement fell a little when I looked into his eyes, and it wasn’t mirrored in them. There was no spark, like there usually was when he means what he said. I thanked him. I wore a polite smile on my face, but I was whimpering inside.

The whole day I spent in his presence I was wondering what does he like? Maybe the dress was too much, or the makeup? What if he liked girls with straight hair and more of a rebellious style? I am not rebellious — I am afraid to break any rules, even if they are ridiculous.

A few teachers complimented me on my looks, but it didn’t matter. My brain was buzzing with new ideas and new looks to try out to see what he liked most.

The next day, I came to school in a leather jacket and boots. I felt edgy but a little bit awkward as people pointed out the huge change from my last look to this one. He didn’t seem to care about it though; of course, he told me I looked pretty. Maybe it was my ego that kept telling me it wasn’t good enough.

At the end of the week, I gave up completely. My boyfriend just doesn’t like how I look, I thought. Good thing I have that great personality. As I got out of the car, knowing we were going hiking, I didn’t care about my looks.

As we started hiking, it got hotter and hotter. Sweat was running down my forehead, and I was forced to wipe it away once in awhile. My ponytail looked more like a nest of hair than a sleek, pulled back hairdo.

We talked while walking to the top, sometimes stopping while overcoming harder areas. He helped me on the big rocks, extending his arms for me to jump into them. I did and grinned, especially as I successfully landed without hesitation.

“You know what?” He asked his eyes twinkling and shining.

“What?”

“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.” And before I knew it his lips were on mine, my body immediately relaxed.

Now I could tell what he thought beautiful was. Not the girly Aneta or the Aneta with the rebellious style. No, he like just plain me — without makeup, with messy hair and in hiking clothes.

I smiled against his kiss. All this time, and it was me.

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The eye of the beholder