When I walked up to the cafeteria cashier, the first thing he had to say to me was, “Oh, here’s the girl with the beautiful smile!” I smiled, “Thanks.” Then he looked at the girl next to him and continued, “I was just asking my friend here what your name was, and she knew exactly who I was talking about when I said, ‘the girl with the smile’.” I looked over, and she nodded in agreement.
I’ve never told anyone, but when I was around seven, I used to pick out random people. I could be shopping with my mom at the mall, waiting inside an airport, strolling around the city, or looking at a museum, when I’d pick out someone from the crowd who looked really sad. Then, suddenly, I would just look up at their face and flash a smile.
Of course, I was probably a bit too smart for my own good – I knew someone wouldn’t resist a big smile from some random little blue-eyed girl. And somehow, when I smiled at someone and he or she smiled back, I’d feel like we shared some kind of giant secret from everyone else - like we knew something the others didn’t.
Although it’s interesting because the people I remember weren’t the ones who smiled back - they were the people who didn’t smile back. I suppose it was because I couldn’t understand them. Because I couldn’t find the exit to their maze. The people I can’t understand – they’re the ones I have to try to figure out.
Because, when we meet someone, it's like they hand us a non-descript box filled with different pieces of a puzzle. And it’s our job to find a way to put the pieces together - to see the whole picture of that one person. Then again, why go to the trouble? Seriously – does it matter if we try to figure out others? Yet, we can’t win a game if we don’t play it, and we can’t get a job if we don’t go to the interview.
And the smiling? Well, it’s more than an attempt to change someone's day. It is sharing a secret. Because sometimes it’s the small things that betray the inside. It's digging a well, to find the water. It's letting someone know I know they need someone for just one second.