I love it when fat people order frappuccinos.

They’ll usually approach the counter with poise and intent, requesting their beverage with shy voices that don’t really fit the shapes of their mouths. It’s always “the largest you have, please,” and, more often than not, “perhaps a little extra caramel on top, if you don’t mind?” They’ll spend an age and a half meticulously counting out the exact change mandated by the cash register. Usually, they’ll watch you distrustfully as you’re blending their beverage and have the straw already extracted from its paper and ready to shove into the whipped cream by the time you pass it to them with your cursory, “Have a great day.”

I’ve seen people in line behind these frappuccino-lovers make faces and whisper comments shaded with condescension into the ears of complete strangers. Yet for all the criticism of an over-indulgent America, for all the articles and press-releases heralding the rise of obesity and cautioning citizens to make good choices, there’s something important here that begs hesitation. There is something in the guilty smile of the corpulent frappuccino-lover, only noticeable the moment before the smile realizes it’s supposed to be guilty. It’s something that hints at indulgence and, more importantly, at satisfaction.

Somewhere beneath her curvaceous girth, probably located near that smear of chocolate in the moist corner where her right cheek meets her lips, is something disarmingly beautiful. In a world where most beauty is manufactured and perfected, the raw delight palpable in her contentment is breath-taking. It is at odds with everything we hold to be beautiful, but at the same time, utterly enchanting; even enviable.

Happiness, I’ve always been told, is comfortably understanding who you are and where you stand in life. With all the choices, standards, perceptions, and relativity of life, however, this is a difficult goal to achieve. I think most people these days have given up on it completely. It is likely that there is a much simpler solution to exposing the happiness that smuggles itself beneath the surface of day to day living. It’s also likely that when we do finally uncover it, it will reveal itself in a sharp but relieving paradox of unexpected, inconsequential, yet overwhelmingly transcendent beauty.

Moments like these make me realize how often we forget that life is about the path to happiness, not really the happiness itself. We even forget that all the diverse, assorted paths have to do with change, and that all change has to do with finding room for improvement in things which already exist. We forget that change and all its functions and extras are innately elegant, even if they are unrefined in their execution. I’ve come to believe that life is all about monitoring the evolution of what you, personally, understand to be magnificent. I think we’ve forgotten that the truly magnificent can’t be created. It lives somewhere in the spaces between the stars painted too brightly on a night sky faded in urban, ambient light. If we’re lucky, and watching carefully, sometimes it manages to burst inexplicably into existence just above the film of perception that coats the material

It’s a lot like smoking cigarettes in the rain: it seems like an inane idea until you see for yourself how the smoke cavorts around the raindrops like the mischievous, pregnant breath of a deity from an ancient dream. It’s a lot like understanding that life’s worth living for the moments of beauty that catch you off guard like extra squirts of whipped cream on a mocha frappuccino your thighs really won’t thank you for. Tastes pretty damn incredible though, doesn’t it?


Jennifer Nicolaisen

Southport, United States

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