Never Underestimate the Power of a Smile

“Shut up! I mean it,” said Lucia, though the gleam of her eyes betrayed the fact that she was quite enjoying the interaction.

“I knew it!” Carin rejoiced loudly with renewed certainty. “You do like him. There was no way I just imagined it.”

“You can’t tell anybody! Okay? Keep it down.” Lucia hissed, looking around nervously. “If he finds out, I’ll just..”

“You’ll just what?” asked Carin more quietly. “I bet you two would make a great couple!”

“Oh come on! We’ve worked at the same place for a month already and he’s barely even looked me in the eye. I just know he hates me,” moaned Lucia.

“He doesn’t hate you. He just doesn’t really know you yet. You’ve just got to .. you know .. get in his face more .. but in a good way.”

Lucia groaned as if in pain and then rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I’m sure that’d work. Why don’t I just walk right into him? He’ll know I exist, but he’ll think I’m a klutz. Ugggh. Anyway, I’ve gotta get back to work. Please don’t say anything about this. Promise?”

“Yeah, yeah. I promise. I won’t say anything. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay.”

“Sure. See you tomorrow.” The two young women stood up from the bench where they had been sitting and each gave a small wave of their hands as they parted ways for the day.

Five minutes later, Lucia was back at her post, keeping her eyes open for any customers that might need some assistance. Today was a rather slow day though and customers were few and far between. It was about time to change out the winter clothes for warmer fashions, but that wasn’t her job today. No, her job was to stay vigilant. All of the clothing was either folded or hanging nicely. The floor was spotless having recently been cleaned. And oh yeah, there was Erik Matherson, looking oh so cool, just across the aisle. He seemed to be chatting casually with a customer about a watch in one of the display cases. Why couldn’t she just stop watching him?

Even turning away though, she could still see his pale blue eyes in her mind, radiating intelligence. She could imagine his soft blonde hair with its gentle curls. She could see the way he stood confidently as he interacted with customers. He always seemed so knowledgeable, though she could not actually hear the words he spoke from where she stood. She imagined that he was always kind and quite considerate. As long as she never actually met him, she could never be disappointed. Still, if he could only see her for once!

Lucia was interrupted from her thoughts as she felt someone walking past her from behind. She hadn’t noticed anybody nearby. As she turned, she saw a middle-aged Asian man brushing his hands across the sleeves of a few sweaters. The man saw her turn and gave her one of the most radiant smiles she had ever seen. As if by magic, she felt a smile forming on her own face. She wasn’t one to smile so easily, but this man’s smile was so genuine and lacking in any form of guile that she just couldn’t help herself.

Across the aisle, Erik’s customer had just left. He lifted his eyes to see if there were any other potential customers in the vicinity, and he saw the Asian man passing through Lucia’s area. He hadn’t really thought much of Lucia before, but as he watched the customer turn to greet her, Erik saw a sight which held him transfixed. Lucia’s smile was dazzling and her whole face was transformed by its light. It was as if a light within shone through her skin, and her eyes were absolutely stunning. Who was this beautiful girl? It couldn’t be Lucia. She never smiled. She was dull and uninteresting.

As the Asian man continued on his way however, Erik continued to watch the girl’s face. Gradually the smile faded and he was able to recognize her as Lucia once again.

For the rest of that day, Erik couldn’t stop thinking about how she had looked in that moment that was far too fleeting. That night, he saw her smile again in his dreams and that smile continued to light up his mind. He saw her gleaming hazel eyes and her dark hair that seemed to take on a greater luster as it reflected the light of her face. Why hadn’t he ever seen her before, he wondered. The next day, Erik returned to work, determined to see that smile again. Whatever it took, Erik had decided; such beauty should not stay hidden within.

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