Spreading Smiles in Calcutta
--by Pavi, posted Jun 15, 2006
cousinnephewhathaveyou and someone on the other end is going to be So Very Glad to see them.
So until I saw the young couple sitting a few seats away from me, and noticed that the woman was crying-I'd never stopped to think that though airports are places of Adventurous Arrival they can also be about Difficult Departure. The young woman was crying, the young man was- not. He looked distinctly connected to her and decidedly uncomforting (and yes that is judgemental of me but so be it) I kept waiting in an out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye sort of a way for him to do Something Soothing. But he didn't. So after a certain amount of indecision and hesitation I walked over with a Smile Stone (a small marble with a smile drawn on it with a permanent black marble) in my hand and said, "Excuse me- can I give this to you?" And I held out a the skyblue Smile Stones. Tearsmeared puzzled eyes. "Why?" she wanted to know. "To make you smile." She took it quickly and flashed me a quick, faltering, touched-by-gratitude smile- and then I walked quickly away because there wasn't really anything more to say.
Later as my bag was going through the security check a uniformed, unsmiling young lady hauled my backpack onto a side table and started unceremoniously unzipping its various sections and rifling through the contents in the impersonal, mildly agressive manner that airport security staff sometimes have. When she dipped her hand into the front
pocket she came up with a fistful of smile stones- they grinned up at her cheerfully and on her face came a look of priceless bewilderment swiftly followed by an involuntary smile :-) The whole tenor of her interaction with my backpack and with me shifted in that second. As she carefully zipped up my bag I pulled out one of the smile stones- a pale green one with a particularly friendly face. This is for you I said- to remind you to Keep Smiling. She took it eagerly and then hesitated for a moment- We're not supposed to take anything from anyone- she said in Tamil (as it turned out she was from South India) - and then her voice trailed away as she grinned down at the face grinning up at her. Then- But this is Okay- she said and slipped it into her pocket.
A smuggled smile stone snuggled into the bottom of her security check uniform because sometimes it really is okay to bend the rules :-)
Also, i'm digging the idea of smile stones! Did you make them yourself?