You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
It was the smile that did it, ten years ago today. MTM claims otherwise, that I looked back with naked longing on my face upon exiting the restaurant where I saw him for the first time. That I sent him a message to find me again, coded into one scant look back.
Smiling wasn’t something I’d done much of in the years leading up to that scorching July afternoon. It’s hard to smile when your heart is gone, an empty cavity where it used to beat. Used to care. Used to feel. Used to love. It’s hard not to wallow.
For too long.
I wasn’t really sure what I was doing when I started dating, because I never really knew how to date in the first place. Married too young. Leaping into another relationship too soon. Unsure where to even go to meet an eligible male. Running headlong into numerous ineligible ones. Learning how to be alone.
July 30, 2002 found me meeting another ineligible one. Plowing my way through my sandwich because he was late. Or standing me up. In a flash of blue, a man said hello to me, and I smiled and said hi.
In spite of everything – my still broken heart, my seething resentment at All Men, my mortal fear of ever again loving someone enough to endure losing him – in spite of all of it – I smiled. A smile that sloughed off the last vestiges of my heartache, that watered the last kernel of hope that sputtered where my heart used to be, that made me think maybe there was something in there besides a vacancy, a void, a nothing.
It was the smile that gave the Love of my Life to me.