I’ve been collecting smiles, saving them in my front pocket. I learned my lesson when I lost invisible valuables out of the back, let them flutter to the ground where they were probably soiled, tainted, dirtied, overlooked like all else in New York until they were tossed into a heap and shipped off to be buried with the rest of the good in this town. But surely in my front pocket they’ll press against my pelvis, remind me that they’re still there for the taking, and I’ll wiggle to readjust, rearranging to make room for the next time I can scrape more from my memories and funnel them into the crowding cotton circumnavigating my waist.
The smile that started it all sat at the first swivel chair closest to the door at the bar of a diner in Greenpoint. I was a goner.
Then came the warm smile that kept me walking through the cold, the same one that shared its umbrella with me until a numbing had me sensing my sensations were slipping.
His smirk smile was the smile that slunk in during silence, the one my eyes nervously averted when I caught its impromptu appearance.
There was the reemerging smile of insecurity, the smile that said, “should I be smiling?”
The sweet smile was the one which surfaced at the sugary mention of European tart flavored soft serve. More mochi, please.
I imagine the smile I didn’t see when we spoke of kissing, sitting side by side so close to the edge of his bed that I sank into the frame and succumbed to discomfort to maintain my comfort.
The smile that made me smile when he proposed a preliminary purchase on the Silk Road.
The smile that lit up more of the beer garden than the fluorescent lights strung overhead, more than the reflective red from the eyes of his poodle necklace, more than the sliver of moonlight that night that escaped heavy darkness in a city that suppresses star shine (but not his).
The smile that moved me to move with unfamiliar sounds of a familiar band.
The smile that ordered us drinks when my waning sobriety waved its arms in objection, but whiskey? Maybe just one more.
The sleepy smile that hugged me as we said goodbye each evening, the one I kept wondering might be the last until it was the last and I had to make it last.
He’s got a great smile, all of them.