Smile, he begged.
She looked at him. And looked away. Did he even know what it took, to do that? To smile. Smile, as in smile, not work one’s facial muscles and stretch one’s lips to caricature it.
I can’t find one, she responded. Why d’you need me to smile?
Now there’s a question! Jovially, he bounced back.
So answer me, she persisted, confused too, that she simply could not smile. It was one of those days, she thought, sighing inwardly.
You aren’t you, completely, without it. There! Isn’t that reason enough? He looked deep into her eyes, cupping her face gently.
With an imperceptible movement, she removed herself from that warmth. It was getting really cold inside her. And you can’t take just a part of me? That one, without a smile? Now there was a sudden thought, one that made her wonder what she was doing here, even asking the obvious. I want you to listen to me, to the thoughts whirling inside, feel the sudden coldness that comes and goes in gusts, join in the meditations that come upon me. I want you to want me, even when I’m not me.
So why do you think I’m here? So late into the night, only so that I can take back this picture of you, this hug from you, and the smile you gift, always. Come here. So keep your smile to yourself. Just give me you, whoever you are today. He smiled.
And drew her close; she buried her smile into his warm heart.
19 January, 2014