The war behind the smile

Although some people find it difficult to do, I love smiling. It’s not that I have perfect teeth (nor are they the whitest), but because I’ve got so many reasons to. This may come off as weird, but when I meet people or am talking to someone, and they smile, I often try to figure out what’s behind it. It could simply be joy, happiness, or peace, but often times, there’s a war that’s brewing. Last month, I ran into one of my former high school classmates at a gas station. “Deetra!” I heard, as I was darting back to my gas pump. Looking a bit confused and unsure, I proceeded to approach the car that held the voice. “Oh, hey girl,” I answered back, while still trying to figure out who this person was.

“I’ve been following you on social media and see you have written many books, and I’m so proud of you.” I replied, “thank you,” while hoping she didn’t ask me anything that would expose me for not knowing her name. As she continued to talk, her name suddenly came to me, and I was at ease and could fully engage with her. After we spent 15 minutes catching up on what we’ve been up to, for the past 20 years of our lives, she began to provoke my spirit. I felt this overwhelming sense of sadness, but it wasn’t mine. Instead, it was hers. Although she was talking and smiling to me about her family, I could see the war behind the smile. On the outside, she was fine, but on the inside, she was crying. I know you’re probably wondering, “How were you able to discern that, just by talking with her?”

I was able to, because I’m good with pretending and hiding. The very thing that she was doing and thought I had no clue of, I used to do. In other words, I saw me in her! I felt bad for a moment, because my focus shifted from listening to the “joys” of her life, to trying to figure out at what point did she lose hers. Nonetheless, we exchanged numbers, and as I walked away, I managed to look back, only to see her smile had turned upside down. I don’t know personally what she was going through, and I didn’t intrude, especially since we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in almost 20 years. However, that just goes to show you, you never know what’s behind someone’s smile. That’s why it’s so important to be as kind to them as you can, because you have no clue how hard they’re fighting, let alone what they’re battling.

Until next time my NOTE takers!

Deetra La’Rue

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