My eyes don’t care for the unblemished apple, but adore the worm at its core.
I look at Abraham Lincoln, fifty feet tall, beatific. Sainted. Beautiful. And while my mind tells me I should be in awe of it, that I should feel some connection there, to all of the people who have come and stood at his feet and stared in awe at his gaze. To link me to all Americans, whose union is more perfect because of the work this man did. This legendary figure, forged in dire years. That I should feel something amazing, some altered state of grace. Instead, I can only stare at the mud daubers who have taken up residence in his pants leg. At the water damaged wall to the left, natural ellipsis to the Gettysburg Address so beautifully carved on the adjacent wall. At the missing, broken, shoddily repaired tiles across the roof. I should be reading the second inaugural address on the right, a powerful and beautiful speech, rendered in powerful type, bigger than life. But all I can see is the view out toward the mall. The construction, the brown grass, the greasy roadies kicking trash around out front.
Jason is trying to point it out to me, the beauty, the mystical, the legendary. The place where the President does his press conferences, where the inauguration takes place. The place where dead presidents are laid in state. But all I can see is the way the hand rail doesn’t match up in the middle, the wavy gap underneath the $300 a foot floor molding. The beautiful, inlaid door with the missing hinge pins. The yellowed electrical outlet plastic. The duct tape adhesive on the grimy strike plate. The stains on the carpet in the State Dining Room. The bad glazing on the windows. Jason is pointing out where the President walks down from the residence, places where amazing men had amazing meetings. And all I see is the cheap fabric hotglued over thermostats to hide them.
I wonder why I am this way. I wonder why my eyes can’t see the beautiful without seeing the blemish. Why, when it comes down to it, there’s no difference for me.