You Know, Right?

They stood on the subway, leaning against the support beam by the doors on the left.

The subway cart was decorated with a myriad of advertisements for diet pills, plastic surgery, language hagwons (private after-school academies), and soju (Korean distilled rice liquor). Their conversation lulled to a stop as the subway pulled out of the station.

“Okay. I kind of get it,” he said suddenly.

“What?”

“Why you think you’re fat,” he said, looking around the glossy pictures of beautiful women with translucent, pale, flawless skin, giant doe eyes, small dainty and pointy nose, full lips, perfectly proportionate bodies, and long, slim legs. She glanced up, soaking in the images that she absorbed throughout the entirety of her adolescence.

“Yeah.”

He reached for her hand.

“You know you aren’t, right?” he said squeezing her hand. He looked at her, but she didn’t meet his gaze.

“Right.”

He stepped closer and pulled her into the folds of his arms.

“You know I think you are beautiful, right?”

“Mmhmm.”

“Seriously,” he said, furrowing his brow. “These girls, size 00, faces reconstructed, and whatever could show up at my doorstep.”

She pulled away and finally looked up at him with a slight smile.

“Naked,” he added for emphasis. “But I wouldn’t care because I’d want to be with you.”

“Be with me…” she repeated, tasting the words in her mouth.

“You know what I mean. I think you are more beautiful than you know. I just want you to know that.”

“I know,” she said.

“I hope you do.”

“It’s not always so easy to remember, you know. I’ve always felt too big, like I took up too much space. For an Asian chick, I have a huge ass,” she said looking down at her body.

He nodded, watching her.

“It wasn’t until college I realized what an asset it was,” she said laughing a little. He laughed along, reaching for her hand again. “But like I said. It’s not always easy to remember, especially when you’re bombarded by these images of happy, beautiful girls. I still find myself in disbelief when people tell me they think I’m beautiful.”

“You are, you know.”

“Uh-huh.”

“You deserve more attention, more praise, and more love than you think you do, more than you ask  of others,” he said seriously.

“You too, you know.”

“Hm?”

“You deserve more love than you think you do.”

“Yeah?”

“Yes. You do.”

They leaned into each other, both thinking they were entirely undeserving of each other’s love.

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