When I Smile, Who Do You See?

The darkly painted boards of the deck feel warm from spending the day soaking up the sun. Your feet pad softly to the edge of the balcony and as you lean gently against the railing you slowly survey the land spread out before you. It’s a quiet evening, cooling down as a few stray leaves trickle down from the trees on the first day of autumn. Even though that morning the maple trees had been a luscious green, by the time sunset had lazily come around the leaves waving in the light breeze had turned a golden brown as though the sunlight itself had been captured in a thousand tiny prisons. Light pinks and oranges dance across the sky as the sun settles itself beneath its covers of earth and trees. It was a stark contrast from the other trees who had yet to shed their summer colors, proudly displaying the varying shades of green that had been bestowed upon them in the spring. Spanish moss swung delicately from the branches like wind chimes that a select few could hear. The ground was a rich black from the early morning rain that had pattered against the skylights as if politely asking for shelter from the cool leftover night breeze.

You hear a slight creak of the boards behind you right before you feel a pair of arms wind their way around your waist. A kiss so tender you barely notice it is placed upon the base of your neck. The scent of mint and rosemary wafts to you and the corners of your mouth lift slightly into a smile barely noticeable to just about everyone. The smile that everyone else got to see was the fake one, the one that hid all the pain, and the guilt, and the emotional scars you rarely reveal to anyone.

“I see you smiling, you know,” you hear in a teasing tone. You immediately exaggerate the smile and allow yourself to turn towards the voice.

“Of course I’m smiling, when don’t I?” you ask in a similar tone, though this one is tinged with darkness. You immediately wince as the smile from his face fades as he knows you well enough to know all of what you imply with a few words.

“Why don’t you smile like that more often? Why do you hide it away when I catch you?” he asks, each word more and more desperate for an answer than the last. You contemplate a moment and the smile you wear fades into a grim line.

Your eyes brighten the moment before you whisper, “Because I save my smiles for when I think about the people I love. I hide it away because it makes everything that much more special.” The smile returns to his face but it flickers the way a candle does in a damp cave. You can tell he wants to believe your answer but can’t decide if he should press you for more. When another moment passes you offer him the best smile you can muster in the moment as you turn to walk down the steps of the deck and sit on the aged swing. You push off the swing ever so slightly as you look up into the leaves and close your eyes as the last of the light fades from the sky.

You stay like this for some time until you feel a touch on your bare feet. He sits in front of you now, peering up at you through thick lashes. “I want to make you smile like that always. I want you to make every moment special with your smile.” You start to smile until your thoughts cloud over with the darkness that constantly echoes in your mind. You want so badly to smile at him, but that in itself would be a lie, and you would never lie to him

Your Sweet Assassin




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