A smile

A smile can certainly mean more than many words.

I know because I have found the smile I wouldn’t mind to contemplate forever or at least once more.

Not long ago I met this lovely man in a hostel I stayed in. The first bit of interaction between us was me asking for the toilet and then being unable to find the switch for the light, and hence he turning it on for me.

The second interaction was a smile broad and instant, almost out of instinct, as soon as I exited the toilet.

I saw that very smile many times that evening and I was always happy to receive it and answer accordingly.

Then that night, I was fortunate enough to share also a conversation with him. That didn’t work out quite as well, I must say. Words were clumsy and didn’t feel as natural. Eventually we said good night and I thought that that was it, that was the end of all interactions between us.

However the following morning we saw each other again at breakfast time and, as soon as we set eyes on each other, we smiled a sincere and big smile. Perhaps it was the reassurance of seeing someone who we knew slightly in the middle of a big dining room full of unknown people… Perhaps it was something else.

He came over to sit with me and again the conversation was shy and clumsy, like that of a couple of teenagers that feel out of place. I felt that silence was more natural, those moments of silence we readily filled with comfortable smiles or even little gestures that could well say more than the words we had exchanged previously. But even after breakfast was finished, we kept bumping into each other.

Later on, that very morning I was going to leave the hostel whereas he was going to stay a bit longer. We met by the door, where he was rolling a cigarette, and without hesitation, we hugged and wished good luck to each other. There was no attempt by any of us to suggest to keep in contact in any way. But again that big smile from both of us reassured each other.

I left happy and aware that I had shared a very beautiful and unique connection with somebody. Apparently his name means «Hill» just like the ones I was going to hike. I smiled to myself thinking how poetic everything had been.

Now I look back and I’m not sure I could describe him accurately. He was average height, rather thin, but his face… What did he look like, what colour were his eyes? I can’t remember any other thing but his smile… and what a beautiful and fulfilling smile he had!

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