As much as I hate the commute to and from work, there are a few perks! For one, I get to observe people. On the last leg of my trip home (I take three buses to get to work, and three to get home), there is a young lady (high school aged) who takes the same bus as I do - taking us into a rural area on the outskirts of Renton, WA. Our bus only comes once an hour, so we sit together, in a covered area, waiting for the bus.
The smile that adorns her face is not one of those "I am pure joy," smiles, but the "I've got a secret" variety. Not the wide open Cheshire cat secret, but a closed mouth sporting a thin smile that extends slightly more on the right side of her face than the left. Here eyes tend to stare wherever you are not, and the smile disappears when someone speaks to her:
"I see you are studying Geometry; do you enjoy the subject?" I say, as the smile girl loses her smile and grunts to indicate a dislike. Eyes averted and refocus on her shoes.
"I hated Geometry," states a rather heavyset man sitting between us. "It's all those theorems and ... and postulates .... "
"Proofs?" I offer.
"Proofs, ya. I much preferred Trigonometry. I'm gonna get some coffee."As the man left, the secret smile girl and I return to our silences. In the silence her smile returns and I wish I knew what her secret was. Could it be a new love? Is she psychic, and she knows the doom or good luck coming all of our way? Is she working on a fantasy of how her life will be like? A prank she is thinking of committing on her Geometry teacher?
I thought it was a secret she held, but now I am not sure because everyday she wears the same expression. Is it a hardwired expression in her, like my hardwired crease between my brows that make people think I am upset, angry, or pompous? Is it just a trick of muscles, tendons, and skin that offers the illusion of a secret joy?
Genetic or inspired, I cannot stop looking at her expression when sitting at the bus stop. I peek at her behind my book, not turning any pages, simply wondering if maybe she sees the world in the ironic light we should all see the world.
I want her smile.