By Anya,

What a wonderful word. Imagine what you can do with just one word. Make a first impression, make someone’s day, put a little tweak of the lips on someone’s depressed face, save a person from jumping of a cliff… The thing that shows that you can love just everybody—a smile. It’s as simple as that, really.
Let me tell you a story.
There is a boy on a bridge with the water of a river gushing past below him. He runs his hands along the railing, feeling the smoothness of the metal. His mind wanders to his family. With a abusive drunkard as a father and a mother who goes to pubs to dance and flirt with other men every night, he does not have the ‘ideal’ family, as society calls them. They fight every day when his mother comes back from the clubs. They throw things at each other and shout those bad words that most teenagers do not utter at that age. When he wants to go to school, he has to sneak past his parents. Sometimes when his drunk parents catch him, they will shout at him or throw whatever they have at hand at him. Occasionally, that object is a beer bottle.
He looks at the setting sun as it casts dark shadows behind old trees and spanking new cars alike. He sighs sadly: even beautiful things have dark sides. The water below looks very inviting. Cool and sparkling. Who can resist it? He is almost going to jump, his clammy palms on the railing, when there is a soft whimpering sound behind him. He starts, turning around and coming to face a little girl who looks barely 6 years old. She is dressed in tattered rags, her hair in a messy bun, her feet bare and her face gaunt. I can see her ribs very prominently under the rags.
“Do you want some food?” the boy asks, thinking of the piece of bread he stuffed into his sweater pocket just before he walked out of the house yesterday.
At the word ‘food’, the beggar-girl’s face lights up. He uses one hand to fish in his pocket, producing the piece of bread. The girl patiently waits for him to drop it into her hands but he sees that she is itching to snatch it. The moment the bread touches her hands, she gobbles the food down. the boy looks at her with a certain fondness in his eyes. After she has finished, she looks at him with a face stained with breadcrumbs. A grateful smile spreads over her feature, making her glow with happiness. The boy sees a light in her smile that reaches her eyes, a light brighter than the sun and casts no shadows. He decides that he does not want to jump, just because he wants to see her smile like that again. He takes his other hand off the railing and picks her up, making her squeal and bury her face in his hair. He strokes her and that calms her down. “It’s okay, I won’t hurt you.” At his soothing words, the girl calms down and goes to sleep. He decides that he will not jump because he has to protect this little innocent girl.
He wants to smile for her, just the way she smiled for him.
Now do you see the impact of one seemingly insignificant smile? If you do, then go out and tell the world hello with yours. You might just be a person’s saving grace.


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