We take a hard swim in the river before meeting my family up on the hill for pork roast and blackberry cobbler. I try to make myself presentable with jeans and boots but my hair is so wild and windblown it makes me look like a clown with my pink lipstick on. That’s how I feel anyway. I want to be pretty for them all. For my boyfriend, and for my Grandpa John who we just found out has cancer. I want to be there early but it’s seven already by the time we finally arrive.
They’ve just finished eating and have to reheat the beans and meat. My new boyfriend is quieter than I would like. It’s clear to my family that no one is proposing anytime soon–as usual. Just a boyfriend? Is that all? I mumble-talk to my family wishing I were prettier like my girl cousin, and peppy-er too. In the morning I spend a full hour wrestling with my hair and smoothing my clothes hoping for the picture-perfect day with my boyfriend–the kind of day I’ve always imagined. We go for coffee and the barrista is so shining and beautiful she makes me sad when she smiles. But I smile back and I thank her SO MUCH and she coo’s at our black dog Honey. She’s as pretty as I want to be.
I beg myself STOP STOP STOP, it’s not about that. Nobody cares about this as much as you do. We pull out of the drive and the truck hits a bump spilling my milky caramel coffee onto the jeans and dress I had so carefully selected this morning.
I vow to give up on my face and my dress. I should be thinking about my grandfather with the cancer and the fact that just this morning my boyfriend said I Was Beautiful. I don’t feel fully better until I write this out in the passenger seat of the pickup, coffee between my thighs, sticky fingers, imperfect but perfectly feminine and passionate and alive.