Will you love me even when I’m beautiful?
When mother picks out that dark blue dress for me, when my cheeks are rouged and my lips painted and my lashes thicker than I ever could manage, when they comb back my hair and give me those diamond studs to wear—when my strappy red shoe falls off of my large, knobbley foot, and you have to reach over and pick it up and put it back on—even then, will you love me?
Will you love me even as I hold your corsage in a lover’s grip, my eyes fluttering open because they forgot to glue them shut, because that’s what happens when you go through the lowest bidder?
Will you love me even when (I know in our last fight I called you “such a fuck head”) I open my mouth to apologize, but all that comes out is the scent of decay?
Will you love me even when the screaming starts, even though I remain silent? When the table leg breaks and my mother is weeping violently, when my father is (as usual) nowhere to be seen, when the crowd scrambles and panics, clawing for me as I lurch off of my ivory pillows and onto the floor—will you still love me?
When the charade is over, when I’m in the ground and my eyes are still fluttering, when my mouth is still opening, when I’m more beautiful than I have ever been before—when all everyone wants is to forget that terrible scene, will you still love me?
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