Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

The Cost Of Beauty

“I’m tired.” She said.

She put her head in her hands and her face was lit by the only light in the room. I placed a small candle at the edge of her bed. The over-head hurt her eyes. She was practically blind and her face was covered in large, brown patches. The lesions came fast. They gobbled her up and ravaged not only her face but her hands and her back. She couldn’t look in the mirror anymore. She spent half her life looking in the mirror.

She was a show girl.

She was exquisite.

Men, women, everyone followed her around. She was hilarious. She made people laugh and there were times when things were awful, deplorable in my life, and I knew that all I had to do was call her and I’d laugh. She’d say something ridiculous, and things would instantly turn around.

“You’re beautiful girl,” she once told me, “..but you’ve got to get rid of those wedgies. What are you, a suburban hooker?”

I got rid of the wedgies.

“Move the blanket on me.” She asked.

She whispered.

She never whispered.

She had a melodious voice. One of those voices that are clear, resonant, and peaceful. Even when she was screaming (and believe me, she screamed) there was a strange musicality.

She was Transgendered.

She never worried about how she sounded. How she looked. What people thought.

“I’m not a liar and I’m not a female. I’m a Transgendered Female and I think it’s brilliant.” She once told me.
When she was on stage there was nothing else happening. She captured people. She could slither, slide, and strut up to anyone in the audience and without taking people hostage, she demanded their attention, their love, their adoration. She played to constant standing ovations.

I stole blindly from her.

“Don’t get used to people standing girl, eventually they sit down.” She once told me.

“I need to sleep.” She told me as I pulled the blanket up to her neck. Her eyes were cloudy. They used to sparkle and I used to be able to see myself in the blue background. Now they were dark and distant. She was forgetting things. Who she was, where she was, who I was. I had to wipe her, clean her, feed her. She was twenty five years old, and in her house in the deep woods of Wisconsin and as Christmas loomed nearer, I was helping the best friend I ever had pass on to whatever was next.

“Beauty is pain, girl. And anything that's beautiful comes with some kind of magic. And that usually costs.” She once told me.

She believed things came with a price. Anything worth wanting and worth getting was going to cost something. Even the magic.

Weeks later I walked into her bedroom in the middle of the afternoon and the candle had burnt out. She was asleep in her bed and there was smile on her face. Her hair was greasy and stuck to the sides of her jaw and she was very, very still. I stood at the doorway sobbing. She breathed in one last small breath. I took her to the hospital and she died a week later.

Ginger’s voice still rings clear. Everything she taught me, everything she said to me, every time she dressed up like Carole Lombard and tripped over her own couch humming the Theme from The Dick Van Dyke Show. Her voice is still around me. But I can’t call her. I can’t converse back. I can’t ask her things and have her guide me. But I have her picture. And I can look at it.

I’ll light the last candle tonight and put it beside my bed and speak to her. I’ll remember her tonight and I’ll say her name. Maybe if I’m quiet enough, if I’m still enough, I’ll hear her. She’s that powerful. I know.

She died of AIDS.

She was my best friend.

And it was beautiful. And magical. And she was right.

It did cost.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 1st, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
That was such a poignant and heartfelt story. Sometimes we underestimate what a best friend can mean. I am left in no doubt, reading this, how much she meant to you.
Dec. 1st, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
*hugs you, is quiet*

I hope you hear her...
Dec. 1st, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
I was deeply touched by this story as so much of the message's heart speaks so loudly to me. I'm learning to count the cost, and it really hurts.
Dec. 2nd, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
Every time you write about Ginger, it makes me cry.

Thinking of her today and of all the people affected by this horrible disease.

Love you, Alex.

-- sheila
Dec. 2nd, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
nothing. i have nothing. just read it and felt it and wanted to acknowledge.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )