When she sits quietly in your room, letting you caress down her arm the way she tells you puts her to sleep, give extra care to her wrists. On them are etched small scars from the past she keeps to quietly to herself. The past she will one day reveal to you, so that you learn the story of how she grew from them and became who she is with you now. Visualize them as tally marks. One for the first time she truly hurt. Two for when she decided masking pain with more pain would be okay. Another for the night she cried herself to sleep on the bathroom floor. The last from when she decided to give up. Don’t feel sad for each tally, but be glad that she never crossed them off for the final time.
When she tells you that she is embarrassed of her body, as she lays naked for the first time in your bed, and she covers her face and rolls over to her side to try to hide herself, tell her she is beautiful. Tell her that her skin reminds you of the ripples in satin and silk. Tell her that her skin feels like velvet clouds on nights with ink skies. Tell her that the bruise on her knee is an amethyst and that the scrape on her elbow is a brushstroke. Run your fingers along the hills of her ribs and strum each ridge like a guitar string. Help her to make music from the parts of herself that she is afraid of.
When she tells you for the 10th time that another song is one of her favorites, listen hard; Listen closely. Each word means something special to her. Each pause makes her hold her breath. She is sharing the song with you to share a piece of herself that she sees in the music. She is in the song that the two of you sit silently in the car listening to. She looks out the window, not at anything in particular, but sees a life in the song. She is pirouettes and footsteps between the lines of each lyric. When she hums the song quietly to herself as she brushes her teeth in the afternoon when the two of you wake up, ask her to sing aloud.