I smiled at a mother as I walked into the school grounds the other day. She looked me up and down, before looking away pointedly. I smiled more and continued walking. Maybe a smile is too hard for you to share, but mine is not and you are welcome to it.
The school yard contains sour faced women with lips pursed like they’ve been eating lemons. I wonder if this is the only time they get to themselves and how long has it been since they had an orgasm that made them gasp and curled their toes, blackening their vision at the edges. Too long, I suspect, they look like they need one.
I wander through, smiling, noticing who smiles back, who looks uncomfortable and who avoids eye contact. I don’t judge them. Everyone has a story and I don’t know theirs – even though I’d like to.
Give me your broken, your dark, your deep. I want to collect your stories and collate them, turning them into a work of art.
Who are you?
What makes you smile secretly to yourself?
Tell me these things and I will keep them safe, right here with me.
As I leave the school, having collected my small skipping daughter, we chat to each other and she complains loudly that home is where we’re headed. I cite things to do, but really, it’s the urge to write pretty words and the exhaustion from the shopping centres that sends us straight home at the end of the day.
We leave, passing the groups of women, huddled in corners, all with their own stories to tell.
I wonder if they consider themselves cliquey and then realise that you can’t see the clique once you’re inside it.
Mirrored glass walls protect you from the smiles of strangers and I am left wondering:
What is their story?