It’s nature’s make-up. It can make any woman a movie star, every man a handsome catch. It can get you a job, a friend, or a drink. What is this miracle, you ask? Simple. A smile. A real one, too. Puffy cheeks, eyes squinted, teeth gleaming. A real, soul-bearing smile. There’s a girl at my high school, a foreign exchange student from China. Whenever I see her in the hallway, she flashes me a big, excited, larger-than-life smile. I don’t know when or why we started this. We’ve never spoken or hung out and we have no classes together, but when I see her coming in the hallway, I know what’s in store for me. I always save my biggest grins for her, too. And when I round the corner and she’s out of sight, it’s still there. And other people see it, and they smile back, and I feel good. No, great. Knowing that I have the power to project my good feelings into some oncoming, lethargic teenager is a great feeling. And it doesn’t stop there. When I smile, I connect with strangers or friends in an almost telepathic manner. I can communicate my support, appreciation, attraction, or sympathy in the tightening of a few well-placed facial muscles. I believe in the power of smiles. Sometimes, that little boost of positive energy, that jolt of human contact can be the most eloquent sentiment. In a split second, I can say to someone, “Hey. You matter to me. Even though we’ve never met, I’m glad you’re here.” I’m a smile connoisseur. I like to watch people smile. You can tell a lot about what a person’s thinking by the way they smile. Sometimes, smiles hide things, like discomfort or distress. Sometimes, they say more than they mean to, like loving feelings that maybe aren’t public just yet. Whatever it says, to me, smiles are the way the human brain shows what’s really going in there on to anyone paying close enough attention. Smiles are magic. This, I believe.
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