Smile

Was it because she smiled that everything changed?

Or did she smile because everything changed?

One of those things I’ll never know, I suppose.

I saw her getting off the elevator, and couldn’t place her. Vaguely familiar, like someone I should have known. I have horrible name recall. Maybe she sat in the back of one of my classes, never saying anything? The one I call the “Red Shirt Girl” although she may have only worn red once?

She smiled, said hi, and stepped out of the elevator.

I smiled, said hi, and stepped into the elevator.

Two ships passing, and all that jazz, and I didn’t have a clue who she was.

Turns out she’s the scrunchy face girl, the one who looks like she’s been eating dog turds while The Nose talks about poet’s romantic notions, angelic wives in heaven looking down on their still-living spouses. The one that claims, because she is Catholic and therefore the utmost authority on all things heavenly, that such an idea is not only wrong, but blasphemous. Heaven, being a physical realm, is perfect, and no sadness can exist in perfection.

Personally, I’d disagree about perfection without sadness, but that’s a personal thing, I guess, and I digress.

Before class, though, I stood and watched The Nose in his car. I’ve given him a hard time in the past because, honestly, he really is a terrible teacher.

He was smoking a cigarette, his hand waving in the air as he went over his notes, and my heart melted just a little. It didn’t hit me until that moment that despite his failings, he tries.

He gets up in front of class after class full of kids and adults, the smart-assed and the brain-dead, and tries. He tries despite being afraid of talking in front of people, despite losing his place in his notes and becoming easily distracted. He tries despite really bad teaching reviews.

He just tries. And maybe, because of his failings and not despite them, I can respect him for that. A lot.

We didn’t actually get to the play that we had to read for today, but I learned a lot about Irish history and realized that, while he can’t communicate it like The Bear does, and because of that, I have no way of measuring their academic fortitude against each other, The Nose is still a most impressive scholar.

He is eccentric and is under the mistaken impression that The Rolling Stones are good music, and he has weird hair gel in his hair (I’d say something to him, but really, I’m in no position to comment on someone’s hair to them), but he really is an impressive scholar.

And I’m still left to wonder if it all began because of an unrecognized smile.

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