Smiling (Sometimes)

There, do you see her?

 

Smiling.

 

Eyes like molten amber

 

frozen in time and tragedy.

 

You’d never guess, would you?

 

That beneath the papery pretense

 

the over-bright teeth and even brighter laughs

 

is a fatigue so deep

 

so consuming

 

that it’s all she can do not to get pulled underneath.

 

Because she knows once she’s gone, she’s not coming back

 

she isn’t sure she’d even want to, really.

 

So she bakes a cake instead

 

and pours her unshed tears into it

 

drop by salty drop.

 

No cake has tasted more real.

 

(Heartbreak is surprisingly delicious.)

 

She lets the words wash over her

 

“You’re such a brave, strong girl.”

 

“You’re going to be fine!”

 

Smiles bitterly, and goes back to stitching herself together

 

scrap by shivering scrap

 

but the damn stitches just won’t

 

Hold.

 

The days are fine; she’s almost finished the last knot

 

securing it with a couple of grins and a chuckle thrown in for good measure.

 

A chuckle echoed by her heart as it laughs at her charades.

 

She ignores it like always

 

stuffing her fist into the gaping hole inside to make it shut up.

 

And then the night saunters in with its trademark smirk and

 

just

 

like

 

that

 

she is undone again.

 

Nerves flailing; vessels splintered

 

It’s times like these that she just

 

wants

 

to fold herself into a suitcase

 

and disappear,

 

coppery strand of hair caught in the zip.

 

Because she can manage quite well without the sympathy and cold tea,
thank you very much

 

It’s the void she can’t quite fill up

 

No matter how many

 

teaspoons of love

 

brass kettles of hugs

 

she tips in

 

Or cups of happiness she crams within

 

It’s never

 

ever

 

enough.

 

She tries, though

 

She tries until her smile dries up and her lungs hurt

 

and her laugh forgets itself.

 

She tries until she’s slowly crumbling

 

into a tangled mess

 

of nothing at all

 

But she keeps right on trying.

 

Are you wondering what her secret is?

 

How she wades through each day and survives

 

Drenched to the bone, dripping pain off every pore

 

but alive

 

and sometimes, smiling.

 

The secret, my friend

 

lies

 

in the tiny ant that tickles her nose when she’s sleeping

 

the curious sparrow pecking on the windowsill at dawn

 

the bubblewrap that bursts into giggles within her palms

 

her sister’s tired fingers lining her eyes with kohl

 

the old lady who grabs on to her arm at the crossing

 

her father’s shaking hands squeezing hers tight

 

the laughter in her friends’ souls

 

burrowing their way into hers.

 

The secret, sweetheart,

 

lies in the way

 

the world is constantly shattering

 

 

only to explode all over again

 

just like her.

 

So she inhales the bitter stardust

 

and exhales the sticky darkness

 

and wills her aching synapses

 

to pull themselves together.

 

Because she knows,

 

deep down in her toes

 

that life is too darn beautiful

 

to give up on.

 

 


Image Source: flickr.com



 

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  • Saumya

    This is perfection!!!!!!

    • Zinnia Sengupta

      thanks! :)