The Smile

picture of unfinished bust of Nefertiti

If there was one thing he could say was mysterious about her, it was the way some secret amusement lived at the left corner of her mouth. Not large enough to be called an enigmatic smile, it nevertheless caused her eyes to narrow slightly as though she was preparing to laugh. It set off the intelligence in her hazel eyes and declared her self-sufficient, confident, at peace with herself.

The moment he saw that, he was captivated. He wanted to explore it – and her – thoroughly, leaving as little as possible unknown. He knew it was impossible to ever know another human being fully, completely, because you could not live in two minds at the same time. Yet – with her – he wanted to come as close to that as he could. He wanted to spend months and years prolonging that understanding, to truly perceive who she was in all her independent glory. And when he could see that, he would really begin to enjoy her. He would use everything he had learned, but carefully and in tiny increments until the day would come when he could look at that beautiful face and see that secret amusement had disappeared.

Then he would say, “What happened to that independent woman I used to know?” And he would walk away, with her secret alive now in the corner of his own smile.

Character Is

definition of character

What if I don’t want to, she asked me.
It’s a consideration, I replied. But not one that will change my mind.
When will you come back?
When it’s appropriate.
When is that?
I’ll know. Until then, you’ll have to bear with it.
Aren’t you asking a lot of a kid?
Indeed. I smiled. But it can’t be helped, and you are up to it.
How do you know that?
I know your character.
What is character?
Ah. I paused a moment to consider. Then, character is what choices you make and how you react to the consequences of those choices as well as the choices of others that affect you.
Silence. Tug on my hand. Stop. Looking at one another.
Then I know your character, too.
I smiled again. Indeed.