That Nose

"Elephant, elephant, you have a really long nose/Yes, my momma has a long nose, too/Elephant, elephant, tell me who do you love?/Oh, you know it's my momma that I love.""

We went to Denny's this morning. I slammed my French Toast Slam and slugged my coffee (you really can only slug coffee) while Caroline sat next to her Daddy, drinking from a cup with a straw and shrugging her shoulders and giggling. I blew her a kiss and remembered something my brother told me last week.

"My brother told me Caroline looks just like I did when I was little." This statement is a big deal to me because since the day she was born people have told us that Caroline looks like Andy. Or Andy's mom. Or Andy's brother. Or my mom. But never me. I've never been offended when people tell me she resembles anyone but me. She lived in me, I grew her and I watched and felt her come out of my body so I know she's mine.

I was pretty happy when my brother told me Caroline looks like me because it was the first time anyone has said this and it's just simple vanity to want a mirror image of ourselves to love and care for. (Hello, Mini Me, right? That guy's made a career from his role in Austin Powers.)

In typical Andy fashion, his response was less then pleasing to me. "Yeah- but, that nose." He has referred to my nose in this way before. And it didn't make me happy then either.

"What do you mean? That nose? What does that mean?" I called across the table. I could feel the anger-lava that always rolls around under my skin boiling up to the surface. That. It can be used to introduce a restrictive clause; it can be a demonstrative pronoun or complementizer. It can also be used in the English language up to seven times in one sentence. But it doesn't belong in a sentence before the word nose and in particular, my nose.

We all have a body part we'd like to trade in for a better model. I'd like to trade in my nose. If yin and yang attract one another, it must be why Andy and I are together. He has a perfect nose. His nose is the beauty and mine is the beast. Except when he kissed me the first time, my ugly nose didn't melt away to reveal a gorgeous, straight protuberance with cute little nostrils. It's still ugly. It always has been and always will be.

Wait, I take that back. When I was little it was cute. It was like a rubbery little button. It wasn't until fourth grade that my nose got longer, my nostrils larger and a fat, ugly bulb attached itself to the tip. For eight years of my life I was a normal, happy kid with a nice nose. Since that dark year of my life I've had to battle bullies on the bus and catty bitches in high school who constantly reminded me that I have a big nose.

I thought as an adult I could put my looks behind me. I thought people could see the funny, smart person behind the nose. An ugly nose like me could even get married. There is a god!
Until Andy tells me that I don't have a "normal" nose. It's always runny and my nostrils flare. Umm, Andy, is there a point in the conversation when you'd like to redeem yourself and give me a compliment?

I do hope Caroline's nose never changes. I wish for her a "normal" life with a button nose. A nose that doesn't drip. A nose that doesn't weigh more than your head. The only thing I can want for her is that if her nose does change one day, she'll be proud because it will remind her of me.


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