There was a difference between when she smiled wholeheartedly and when she simply forced it. Her aunt knew how to read her. She was just like her. The fake smile caused more muscles to tense. It was strained and didn’t seem natural.
We all have moments like that. When we feel obligated to smile and be courteous when in fact we feel nothing like it at all.
Charlotte saw so much of herself in her niece. Joy lived up to her name most times. But when her aura clouded, it could be sensed a mile away.
“The secret to maintaining that smile is to keep the child inside you alive”, Charlotte said.
Joy tilted her face like a cat in awe.
“Think about it: when we’re simply living in that moment, blurring everything around us to the point that nothing else exists beyond what we’re doing and who we’re with at the present time, aren’t we happier? We shift all our focus to that precise period of time that we don’t care about past or future or anything else that causes us concern and stress. We feel relaxed, playful, carefree, and genuinely happy. Your heart is open to love and…well, joy, and your mind is thinking positively by default. You view the world brighter because you’ve turned the mood switch to that direction”.
Joy smiled, her head turned back straight. The smile was authentic this time.
She didn’t need to say much. Charlotte understood anyway. She gave her a hug. One of those long ones where you wait for the other person to let go first and so you stay entangled for what seems like hours, laughing while you feel each other’s heart vibrate. The embrace was so tight, Charlotte could actually feel the crack that had marked Joy’s emotions.
“We’re all loving people the way we wish we were loved and hurting them the way we wish we were not hurt”.
“How different the world would be if we could – even for an instance – see things from another’s point of view, step in their shoes and view their perspective. How much better everything would be, if we could just let our pride aside for a minute and show some empathy to the people around us, particularly to those we say we care for the most”.
“Sometimes, love has a way of coming back to you”, Charlotte added, loosening the squeeze.
“If it’s meant to be, it won’t miss you. There is always a way if we truly want it”.