She Taught Me How to Smile

We were in a cab on a rainy night. I asked her how to look good on stage for a particular event coming. The one thing she told me that she knew she was sure about was that I should give a heartfelt smile. I didn't know what that meant. I was 10 years old. So I asked her.

"This is a heartfelt smile," she said, with a smile she just described, "and this one is a fake." I was looking at her face with the help of the yellow street lights as the cab was moving.

That was a month before she passed away. Ten years ago.

I just looked through pictures of her in albums and the ones hanging on our walls. I just remembered she didn't smile a lot in pictures. And now it's painful to try to imagine so hard her smile. I just realized it recently: It's fading... my memory is.

Some people look through my photos and tell me how happy I look, the way I smile. Just a couple of weeks ago a random stranger messaged me about my smile. That was weirdly flattering. But it led me to think of the person who literally taught me how to smile. My mom.

This is a picture taken around 1992, I guess, at our house in Oman, with our neighbors. This is the only picture I could find of her with the biggest smile. It's not so big, actually. But it's the only one I could find. She's only got a few. I don't know how she managed to teach me how to smile when I could find too few pictures of her doing so.

I've been thinking and writing a lot about my mom lately. And I just wish she'd visit me in my dreams. We'd talk and share smiles. It's been so long since. I can't even remember the last time.


I was surfing the internet for few of my favorite people and I am, without fail, always amused by the talent they have. Such awesome artists with so much humility. No they're not celebrities, they're just some random people I found on the internet, with ordinary jobs and simple looks, and just living within my country, but whose talents keep me visiting their pages again and again.

I want to be as good as them. Be able to draw and paint, sing and play those instruments with so much ease as a feather is flying with the wind. But all that's left of me now are frustrations. I could only sit here and think of how gifted these people are and how much I wish I was too.

I'm 20. I could have done so much.

*photo by inertia09 on DA
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