Smile, Please Smile

In the throes of some created despair, I watch her struggle. She is oblivious to the world around her, absorbed in the essence of suffering and living the lie so completely that all joy has escaped her face.

That beautiful face. I can image her smiling, and I can imagine my own smile in return. I can see her eyes light up with passion, and feel my own response as her full lips turn upward in the moment. I can almost hear her laugh like a song sung in forever’s chorus…

“Please, beautiful lady, smile. Find it, please, let it out. It’s all going to be fine, I promise.”

“You have no idea what I am going through,” I hear her respond.

“I know. I can’t imagine what it is that would keep that smile from rising. I can’t fathom the pressure that turns diamond into coal, that creates powder out of the strongest rock.”

“Don’t start with me,” I hear her say. “You can’t understand, you don’t know me.”

“I do know you,” I reply. “I’ve seen you dancing in vast fields of joy, playing with the flowers that light up the soil like stars in the sky. I’ve heard you laughing at the nothingness you’ve sought, felt you surrender to the dew that wipes the day’s dust from your feet. I’ve seen you tend to your wounds, and I’ve felt you make your way toward the Sun as it makes its way across your longing sky.

I’ve seen your prayers turn your knees red with angry retaliation. I’ve heard your sobs in the darkness of night, and I’ve felt your body heaving under the strain of really nothing at all. I’ve felt your tears run down my back in our embrace, and I’ve felt you leave a million times before this moment.”

“But…but I’ve never met you…”

“I’ve met you a thousand times in your dreams. I’ve seen you grasp at the enormity of what you see as failure, and I’ve seen you run toward the storm rather than face the uncertainty of sweet aloneness. I’ve watched you shackle your ankles to certain doom, and I’ve watched you clip your wings instead of using them to fly. Freedom scares you, and owning yourself in ways beyond the teachings of your masters makes you insane with fear. You fear losing the knife more than you fear the pain of cutting yourself.”

“How? You don’t know…,” her voice trailing off into some thought she would not share.

“You are me, sweet lady. I am you. Our fingers play the same strings, our voices lift up the same notes. I don’t know you as much as I know me.”

Then a kiss. A sweet, gentle kiss. Strong arms hold the fragile, powerful legs support the crumbling. Love is found in not knowing who has the strength, or who is the one falling to pieces. They are interchangeable and neither knows itself outside the fact that both stay standing, or both stumble, almost at the same time.

“Goodbye, beautiful lady. Hold me dear until we meet again, in some other form, in some other way. Please, I beg of you, smile. Just find something in your soul that sets your face ablaze. Go there, and fly.”


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