"I don't want to," I say, phone cradled to my ear. I look at a sore on my hand, shake my head. "I want to look pretty tonight and not have a big black circle on my hand," I say.
"Well, if you want to know for sure if it's getting worse..." he says.
"I know," I say, "I just don't want to." Coffee in the microwave, I flick the door closed and press 30 seconds.
"Ok, well..." he says.
We visit over loose ends, Christmas party planning. The timer beeps. I grab my coffee, hang up the phone.
"You'll always be pretty," Jack says. He taps my elbow, silent eavesdropper.
"Aw, thanks Jack," I say.
"No, seriously," he says. "You'll ALWAYS be pretty."
I stop, slow to look right into his eyes. "Thanks, honey."
"And even if you weren't," he shakes his head, "you'd still be pretty on the inside, and that's what really counts."
"That's true," I say. "That's what God cares about."
"That's what God sees," he says.
I carry his words inside, like a banner. I bend my identity around them, the truth. And I feel a tiny wave of shame at implying true beauty is so fragile.
5695. The birth of our savior, Christ the Lord -- we celebrate with my family. God's gift encircles us.