it might be going to the pool. it might be because it is summer and people are showing skin. it might just be because i start to notice things and then i can't stop.
it started with the teenagers at the pool. sixteen and seventeen year old boys splashing about, teasing girls. their voices awkward. the weird way they look at me, eyes darting to the side, quickly. uncomfortably. different from men. men look. stare. unapologetically. and then one day i watched as they got out of the pool. their bodies so long. arms and legs like vines. every abdominal muscle defined and separate. so toned but tiny. like their muscle's needed some gristle. speedos that are about the size of a swim cap. all these asscracks pointing to shoulders and necks. water droplets rolling down their spines.
i assure you that i was noticing all of this in a very non sexual way. it was more a "holy shit, i forgot what teenage dudes looked like" kind of way. and i kept thinking "that is a fine specimen of a human teenager"....like it should be in a textbook with arrows and explanations.
then i noticed the old woman at the hospital when i was visiting my dad. she was also on the 11th floor which meant she had a transplant or an organ removed. her skin was so white it made me think of abalone shells. iridescent blue and purple veins shining in the light. it looked thin as rice paper. it was as beautiful as newborn skin.
i noticed a woman who was too big for her jeans sit down and unbutton the top button and shift and adjust. she was pretty with a ponytail. she had rolls spilling out and over and i wanted to tell her to just buy larger jeans because she would feel like a new person. i wanted to say imagine sitting down and not feeling uncomfortable in your skin. but i didn't. i just pretended i didn't notice.
there is this toddler who's sister is in riley's swim class. he has light brown hair with little curls by his neck. he tilts his head to the side. his hands look like ginger snaps. he plays with wood toys...hammering and sawing with such concentration. such quiet intensity. he pretends to saw something off his mom and says "momma you're free"! i feel tears well up and my chest gets heavy. i want to scoop him up and squeeze him.
there was a pregnant woman at madison park the other day. she was laying on the grass in the shade. i couldn't stop staring. how the skin looked taught and strong. how her hips looked perfectly balanced and accommodating. how tiny everything else looked on her. tiny arms and hands. petite shoulders and ribs. and this giant, perfectly round belly sticking up. pointing to the sky.
and don't get me started on the women in the changing room at the pool. it is amazing. lines and creases. white bellies and folds. like pizza dough. like milk. like biscuits. beautiful. i hope they see themselves as beautiful as i do.