By Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

My brain’s been in a fog the past few days. A cold virus hasn’t completely relinquished its hold over me.

But the sun came out today. Hermine is miles away now. It rained in the morning, but when those glorious blue skies started dominating over grey I decided to go for a walk.

I walked down to the bay. The fish seemed to be more active than normal. I saw more species in the water by the seawall than I normally do. (I don’t know most of their names.) It was nice watching them zip in and out of the oysters lining the seawall. Sometimes the little ones would scurry when a bigger one came their way.

Eventually I turned back the direction I came, enjoying the bigger view at eye level. The heat from the sun was partially loosening the fog around my brain. I felt good: walking along, enjoying my day.

A car slowed. I  noticed the passenger was taking a picture: probably a panoramic. I couldn’t help but think, “The view is so much better outside the car.”

I made eye contact with the person in the back seat. “Smile!!” he said to me happily!.

I didn’t.

I just looked at him. I couldn’t think for a moment. Then I felt annoyed.

In hindsight, surely he thought he was brightening my day. I’m guessing he interpreted the lack of a smile on my face as a lack of happiness. Wouldn’t telling me to smile remind me that I should be happy for all the things?!

Or maybe he just wanted a smiling face for the picture.

So if I’m not happy, telling me to be so is supposed to magically change things?

Me putting a smile on my face will surely make my cold go away.

It’ll erase the feelings of loneliness I’ve been having lately, just as long as I don’t look sad on the outside.

And the reality is, in those moments before he said that to me, I did feel happy. I felt truly grateful for the beauty that I was surrounded by and my ability to enjoy it while walking on my own two feet.

Did I have the biggest shit-eating grin on my face? No. That’s not me. I smile when I feel it.

He could have said a number of other things aside from instructing me to change the shape of my face to his liking, like:

  • Hello!
  • Nice day, isn’t it?
  • How are you today?

I’ve had this phenomenon happen throughout my life, fairly often, and I’m not the only one.

I shall try to take your instruction with good intentions, but days when a cold is running is course it’s hard. 

So, no, I won’t smile for you. I’ll smile for myself, when I feel it.

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