BEAUTY DEUX

Joan Stephens

"You are so beautiful," he said as he approached her.

"Thank you," she murmured. Long ago, she had learned to graciously accept compliments, even the insincere ones. Not that he was being disingenuous, he meant ever word he said.

In the light that softly spilled from her apartment, he could see a tinge of red bloom on her cheeks and it confirmed his suspicions. "You really have no idea how beautiful you are, do you?"

"Oh, Vincent," she laughed self-consciously, "there are many beautiful women in the world that I donít hold a candle to: Elizabeth Taylor, just to mention one."

"Iím not speaking of outer beauty alone, Catherine." He smiled at her obvious discomfort, knowing that she had grown past the need to glory in her loveliness, and thought, She is beauty. I know others do not see her as I do, for they see only the outward trappings of a perfect beauty. But I am not blind. I am aware of the small imperfections to her loveliness: the jaw that is slightly too square, the nose that is not quite straight, the lips that are a trifle too full. But they do not know her as I do. Only I am privy to her feelings and emotions; only I know her inner joys and sorrows, her personal triumphs and defeats, her highs and lows. They do not see the beauty of her soul, her strength of spirit, the caring and compassionate heart, her courageous and indomitable will, or the wisdom of her mind. These are her true beauty. And her beauty shines as a beacon that guides me to places and realms inconceivable to me before she came into my life.

I love her; I will love her until time ceases to flow.

Fini

Beauty is not, as fond men misdeem, an outward show of things, that only seem.

An Hymn in Honor of Beauty(1596) by Edmund Spenser