"I saw her and liked her because she was not beautiful. Her chin was not just right and something about her nose fell short of perfection. And when she stood up, well, there wasn't much to see but her tallness, the length form her hips to her feet, the length from her hips to her shoulders. She was a tall girl and that was all. She was the first tall girl I had ever liked perhaps because I had never watched a tall girl get up from a table before; that is, get up the wau she did, everything in her rising to the art of getting up, combining to make the act look beautiful, and not just like another casual movement, an ordinary life motion.
Maybe I liked her because when I talked to her the first time I found that she had tall ideas, too, ideas which like her chin and nose did not just seem right to me, but like her getting up were beautiful. They hung together. They were tall ideas about life and people, morals and ethics. At first they seemed shockingly loose to me, but when I saw them all moving together like her body, they hung together. They looked naturally beautiful. They had the same kind of pulled-out poetry that sometimes defies the extra-long line and hangs together, hangs together when you see the whole thing finished, when you've scanned it up and down and seen all the line-endings melt into a curious kind of unity which makes strange music-strange music because everything is long yet compact. She was music. I see it now, her getting up impressed me because for the first time I felt poetry in a person's rising-music in body parts moving in natural rhythms. I liked the tall girl.
By stature I was not tall. I was built almost too close to the ground. Perhaps that's why I had old-fashioned ideas, ideas as simple and as pure as the good soil. Maybe my eyes saw more in the ground than other people's because I was closer to it. I was what you might call compact. Everything was knitted together strongly like my ideas about life, morals and ethics, all squeezed together rhyming easily, making music of a strong, dominant sort. Call it smugness if you wish. But I really couldn't move far without taking along everything I had. My ideas were like that, too. I could take a radical fling once in a while, but sooner or later, mostly sooner, the rest of me ganged up and compressed the wild motion with one, easy squeeze. We were a funny pair, the tall girl and I, funny because we were so different in everything. She was a slow walker and I had to hold back. She talked in long lines and I used the short one. She ate easily and I ate hard and fast. We were different.
The tall girl and I fell in love with each other. Why, I do not know. We just did, that's all. We did crazy things, tall things and compact things, like running madly up and down a beach, laughing and feeling loose and free, or like sitting down and knitting out minds together to feel after a piece of music or a problem. Something made us agree. We couldn't figure it out, but we agreed. And after looking at each other and seeing our bodies and the stuff behind them, we couldn't quite understand, but we accepted our good luck and we called ourselves wonderful people.
After a while we talked about marriage, children and a home. For a few months we didn't agree on a couple of things but, as I said, we were wonderful people and one day we decided to get married.
But the tall girl and I didn't get married. For one moment, somewhere, I think we stopped being wonderful people, and she must have felt her tallness for the first time and maybe the ground came up too close to my face. But that was all; it was the end. Something had come between the tall girl and me. I don't know what it was but something died and with it went all the funny music and poetry in people.
Many years have passed and sometimes I get a strange feeling-I mean about walking and getting up. I don't seem to hang together as I used to. Only last week my best friend told me to pull myself together. And when I looked around-I'll be damned if I wasn't just all pieces and parts, going this way and that, down and...up. Up! That was it. I felt taller. And I felt good. I liked the freedom. I could reach for an idea now without straining everything in me to hold it; and I didn't care about the rest of me. What music there was left in me, what music I heard in others, was the strange kind one finds in long-line poetry. It made me happy.
Sometimes I think of the tall girl; but she doesn't seem tall anymore. She just seems natural-arms, legs, ideas and everything. I wonder what I thought was tall. Sometimes I wonder if she was the same girl I first saw rising from a table. I don't know. People grow taller, I know that. Perhaps they grow shorter and more compact, too.
Maybe that's what makes us wonderful people."