** mush alert **
You know the emoticon :)? It’s always smiling. The other one 🙁 is a whole different emoticon. And there are people like these emoticons. Some of them with lips always curved upwards.
My first memories of people like these is from school. There were a bunch of them. That they were always smiling and making people laugh, is just one facet. These people would talk about the saddest events of their lives with a smile you could sense even if you couldn’t see it. Not mockery, not sarcasm, there was hope in that smile. Maybe even a belief, that it will work out.
S is one such girl. We first met when we were all of 12. We parted ways after school, 3 years later. Then we would bump into each other once in a while. After the longest while, maybe 12-13 years, we met a couple of days ago at a school reunion.
Like most of us (we were about 30 people at the reunion) she too had gained a lot of weight. But the change in her hair was…let’s just say…difficult to miss. It’s a nest resting on her forehead. Long-lost friends that we all were, how could we not comment on it, in the most politically incorrect way possible. Her smile hadn’t change over the years. She laughed along with us. Then she goes –
S – I have to give you guys a surprise. Let us wait till everyone comes.
the bunch of us who were there insisted, “e tell no-tell no” types.
S – It’s a good news. I want to tell when everyone is here.
More “tell no, tell no”
S (that twinkle in her eye, clasping her hands in glee, the broadest she might have ever smiled) – I’ve just been cured of breast cancer
* * *
After a milli-instant of silence, we cheered.
Yeah, she went through detection, chemo and is still under treatment for various other things. Not only that, compared to the other things that have happened in her life, the cancer might have taken its toll physically but was least tormenting, mentally.
Sure, we all know someone like this. We all know we are given the strength to deal with whatever is presented to us. Whoever reads this will go, “wow, look at what people face and we call our problems problems”
But, isn’t there something more than this to it? She’s smiling guys. Her smile understands the awkwardness we feel, the pity we are avoiding to convey. SHE is taking care of us. Maybe, for her sake it’s good that it’s not the other way around.
She made me realize what inspires me. The never-changing smilie.