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Compliments Feel Cheap

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Compliments Feel Cheap

Annabelle Vincent

Does it feel different 

when people tell you that you are beautiful

all the time?

I direct my gaze to the sky

and pause—

yes

it feels different.

Compliments feel cheap,

like money thrown carelessly toward women

who crave only an open heart,

shot directly into their world.

If I had a quarter for every time

a man has stood in front of me,

charming me through white teeth

or trying to persuade me

through green eyes

and green paper,

and for a moment I let my guard down

and took the compliment

only to later

be taken advantage of,

I would be able to pay back all the men

who have thrown money at me

in the shape of

filet mignon cooked rare,

bottles of dark wine,

trips to Rome,

bathing suits spun from peach gold,

books to get inside my head,

art to get inside my life.

And I laugh now

knowing

only when my debts are settled

will I be able to look into the world

and see clearly

through the dust

the man standing at eye level with my soul,

with his heart in his hands

asking me

to love him.