I read romance novels when in high school; wild and glorious sex and I thought about dying a virgin.
I’m not dead yet – but the beautiful is. I saw her in the obituaries a couple days ago – and now her funeral is just across the street, in a stately Catholic church, but I won’t go.
First of all, because it’s Friday, second because I don’t want to see anyone dead today.
She was beautiful when she was young, very much so but her photograph for the obituary was only vaguely beautiful – what I call a George Orwell beautiful. Remember, in the novel, 1984 remember? He made love, the hero, and he was afraid of rats, and he thought the lower class, the ignorant lower class, had a moment in time, a brief, glorious moment in time when their women, young girls, were gloriously beautiful. Then of course they married, had children, thickened around the waist and did all their laundry by hand — so became lumps.
Well, listen, George, some of us are born lumps, stay lumps, then fade from memory – never close to glory.
Back to the beautiful.
She wore the short skirt of a cheerleader, and she was, I’m sorry to say, loud. Her obituary says she was kind and gentle – she wasn’t when she was eighteen, thirty years ago now.
I won’t tempt fate (that’s 21st-century I-don’t-believe-in-God gibberish), so I’ll say, hey “rest in peace,” when the hearse pulls out, and her parents follow behind.
You see I got over the romance novels and followed up with Jane Eyre and all of Austen. They didn’t pull any punches, the good are not rewarded, and the only defense an unbeautiful has is a dry humor and endurance.
I’ve never given up my conservative bent toward human nature because of the books I’ve read – we all fall short, don’t we.
What I’m trying to say is being unbeautiful, and realizing the lies of romance and gravity-defying sex, gave me a jump up. Losing my virginity was a terrible experience – I really should have waited for someone who cared but then perhaps I would have died a virgin. Perhaps I will die a virgin anyway, living on a technicality.
So when the hearse of the once beautiful pulls out, I’ll stand at my window, still standing as an unbeautiful, but still standing. I will say a prayer to a God that no one believes in really, words that people disdain ( how do you know, how can you be sure). I’ll pray because I’m sure that as surely as the beautiful die and fade and my teeth grind at all the lies little princesses are fed, we do not end up in glass coffins but in lead.