Friday, April 7, 2017


We were walking towards each other. Your head was down. You looked up and saw me. Smiled. As a reflex. Evidently. Because almost as soon as you smiled, and realized you smiled, you stopped. And I wanted to ask you why? Why did you smile? Was it a learned response? Nervousness? A desire to be liked? I’ve known the smiles of other women. I’ve seen come-hither smiles. I’ve seen smiles born of embarrassment, and a desire to end the conversation. I’ve seen smiles I can fall into, and have.

When you smiled at me I smiled back. I tried not to. Still. I registered your awkwardness. Wondered at it. Should I not have smiled? Should I have smiled more broadly? Did you misinterpret my smile? Perhaps you have known the smiles of other men. Perhaps those smiles came with expectations. Perhaps they showed their teeth, or tried very hard not to. Perhaps the smile is different before and after. What makes you more afraid? The before, or the after? Would that neither of us had ever smiled.