A Man Smoking a Cigarette

About a week ago, I sat down with my mom and talked to her about my life. The things I am happy with, the things I am not happy with. Mostly for the purpose of evaluation. I wanted to make sure I was still on the same path I had set myself on at the beginning and during this conversation, many things came to light.

It’s important to talk to someone about where you are at, especially when you feel downtrodden and struggling. They can check and balance you against the things you say you want. Having that is such an important aspect of growing and changing.

As I left, I felt refreshed and more in tune with myself. Knowing that I was failing some things and succeeding at others, I went about my night with my girlfriend and we stopped at Maverick to refill our water bottles as she asked me about what my mom and I had talked about. I started to tell her, and before I realized it I was spilling deep seeded fears and frustrations I wasn’t even aware I had until then. I was revealing all of these things about my life in a Maverick parking lot with my window rolled down when one of the employees came out front to smoke a cigarette.

He was tying up his apron and puffing along on his smoke while I ventured dangerously close to mental breakdown territory. When it was all said and done I watched this man turn and look at me, and smile.

It was brief, if I hadn’t been paying attention to him I wouldn’t have noticed. But it was just a short moment after I had finally finished venting and being excited about the future that he looked up and flashed that smile at me.

Now, I could never know why he did or what reason he had for smiling at me, but if you ask me, it’s because he watched a young man through the corner of his eyes as this young man fought off the evils of his own mind. Aloud, for everyone to hear. That quick glance was all I needed to see that everything I do, even the venting and the frustrations I release are seen by the world. He listened as I talked about how scared I am of the future, how ashamed I am of the things I’ve failed, how much pleasure I get from writing and how I have bound myself to a contract I can’t escape from and he watched a young man, on some level, come back from the dead that night.

I think that’s why he smiled.

We never know what we will see or hear, and sometimes it can be horrible. Somethings in life are disastrous. Some things make us want to curl up and die, but sometimes, we see bright lights flashing. Bright fires burning inside the souls of others, finding a new path or reconnecting with the path they had once walked.

But regardless of what we see, a smile is important. It is the thing that can change someone else for the better, and all you need to offer is a split second of your time. Flash them a smile. Let them know that you are there and that things will be okay, even if your presence is a flash in the pan.

It is still something, and something hopeful is better than nothing at all, I’d say.


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