The Fake Smile

By Ankur Bhelawe.

He was walking on the pavement with quick, short steps. His jeans were still soggy at the hems from trudging through yesterday’s puddles. Long, tousled hair bounced on his head. His pale face, obscured in the dusk.
One or two strangers lurked in the darkness. The wind, howling. Somewhere, a baby giggled. Sigh.

His footsteps lingered where the laughter sounded. Someone was happy. He hovered there, hoping to borrow some happiness, which was a myth in his desolate life. Sigh.

He realized that he had reached the bridge. He must’ve been walking for a long while… Pointless thought. He cut it off. He walked over the bridge, ears intently hearing the mellifluous babbling brook over the raucous din of the wind which tore at his clothes.

Suddenly, he became conscious of the fact that his cheeks pained. His hands instinctively flew up to his face and began to trace its contours, a mystery to probe. He paced faster, his cloak billowing out behind him. He walked to a large window pane and halted. His eyes widened. He did not recognize the person in the reflection who seemed to imitate his wide-eyed shock. He was smiling.

How could that be? Fake smile, he concluded quickly. Fake. Fake. Fake.

A fake smile, set in place for so long that it hurt the cheeks. But the smile did not reach up to his eyes, and the warmth of joy, absent. Fake.

He looked around. The street was deserted, and the chilly wind swirled up leaves. The antique street light flickered. Stars now dotted the pitch black sky. Finding himself all alone, he ripped off the smile from his face. He needn’t pretend to himself.

A new expression replaced the old one, and it seemed to him to fit better. His eyes blurred. He clutched at his heart, and fell to his haunches. Taking in a gasp of breath, he shrieked. Earsplitting. Bloodcurdling. Sobs.

All he wanted was to die. To never have been born. The whole of his existence did not outweigh this pain. Wasn’t worth living through it for one more heartbeat.

Let me die. Let me die. Let. Me. Die.

After what felt like an eternity, he could still cry out an ocean of pain. But fate conspired to make him a silent sufferer. He heard footsteps round the corner. He cringed with pain, but got up then. He wiped his face dry and put on a dazzling smile as the first of the sun rays flickered into existence. Fake. Fake. Fake.
Let me die. Let me die. Let. Me. Die.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s