The thirteenth story in the Winter Prose Competition 2011 series.
She has thirty years under her belt. She is in love, of course. She is in love with her career, with her black rhinestone-studded belt, and the way it accentuates her waist and draws the eyes away from her butt. She is in love with the feeling of beauty.
Beauty is a snake, a twisting, enchanting snake. She can feel her own hips pivot as she dances. One, two, swish; the fabric glides across her legs. A dress, but a body underneath, is mesmerizing. There is a power in her that only wets the back of her tongue. The whole world will stare at her, and she will look at none of them.
The mirrors rise up around her as she spins alone, and it is nearly a dream, how her own image flashes across her eyes. Beauty wears the rhythms, controls them. They bend to her as she bends her back. She is a bridge, a woman. She is a woman ever and always. Eyes are drawn to her eyes, closed, brilliant white against dark skin.
She is panting, then, human again, at the sound of two hands.
"Good, that's much better than yesterday. You can go."
She is released, and she smiles. Theresa Scott is her whole world. Theresa Scott has never clapped for her body before. In the mirror, she sees the two of them, Beauty the Amazon-woman with the rope-braid, and Theresa the tiny white fairy, so severe.
A flute sounds, but it is just the phone, calling from a distant world. She picks it up, and someone says her name.
She takes her bag, not bothering to change out of the sheer dress, and walks out onto the cold city street. There is rain, and she does not have an umbrella. She might have been naked.
She will go to the hospital, soon, but first she will return home and stand in front of the mirror with long silver scissors. There in the murky rain-light of the apartment, she will cut off her long braid of hair.
If she can take beauty, then nothing else can take Beauty Blue.