They don't even have enough fear in them to smile to disarm. The young people at the bar are naturally charming, because no one has ever told them to fuck off and meant it. As she slings drinks, the smiles Deandra sees across the bartop are genuine, or at(more) least not forced. Smiles must come easy to people who are paid by their dads to take a gap year, is what she's decided.
Loving dads, rich dads. She thinks sometimes of her own dad back home, a stupid man with angry beliefs that he says are political. He has told Deandra to fuck off, and meant it. Called her sick, a freak, and he meant that, too.
Deandra's trapped in this one place, fancy as it seems, with no money to keep going. But beach-hopping through Europe on someone else's dime? It must be nice. Soaking up the sun while the economy burns. For some people real life can stop, but that is why Deandra's here, pushing alcoholic drinks that are mostly icecubes and neon-tinted. What sort of people drink this stuff? Nothing's honest and brown.
The guys are already tanned, and muscled in a way that is deliberate and speaks of gyms and boredom, not labour. Their girlfriends only turn more pink and get sweaty, bikinis leaving chafed lines on the tops of their breasts and firm potbellies where a Swarovski crystal inevitably seems to dangle. Deandra tries not to look at the girls but still, she takes them in in resentful desirous sips. Big sunglasses on. Do they look back?
She has to force herself to look at the guys, the buyers and thus the tippers. She has mastered the wide smile, so wide surely there can't be any room left for pretense. But oh there is. (less)
Even though I met her years ago, I was just starting to get to know her now. She moved in next door when I was 9, and I had barely ever talked to her. My neighbor was nice enough, as was her family, but I just didn't get around(more) to making friends with her. Maybe it was because she was a year younger than me, or maybe it was because I thought girls had cooties; I honestly couldn't remember. The only thing that mattered now was that I was falling deeply in love with her.
It started off with a couple glances, and then a charming smile here and there. I saw her regularly at the pool, and eventually I started talking to her. It was strange. I had always imagined falling in love as a sudden thing, like stepping inside your air conditioned house on a hot sunny day. I had also always imagined that I would fall in love with a girl because I thought she was perfect.
Both were wrong. The fall was gradual, and I didn't realize how perfect she was, until I was in the inescapable crevice we call love. It's funny the way life flips around your expectations.
If a stranger were to look at her, they wouldn't see anything special, just a pretty face. But when I look at her, I see the most amazing person in the world. I think that's what love is. Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Maybe if I can coax the nervous butterflies out of my stomach and into the open air, I can light up the world just like she does.
When I get home from work my nostrils are assaulted by the smell of dirty laundry and foodleft out too long. The apartment is a disaster. Dirty clothes lie discarded upon the floor or hang draped across tables and shelves. The kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes, and(more) last nights leftover pizza is still sitting out on the counter, box wide open, a bloated fly lazily strolling across its cheesy expanse.
And there in the middle of the chaos, naked but for a pair of boxers and a headset connected to the Xbox controller in his hands, sits my boyfriend Danny. He nods vaguely in my direction when he hears me come in, but his attention is focused entirely on the virtual acts of carnage he's enacting on the television screen.
"Uh, hey babe," I say, "How was your day off?"
"Good, good," he replies absently, wincing as his character in the game is killed by a grenade. "How was work?"
"Terrible. I missed my bus, and that made me 20 minutes late. When I got there, Mr Kim-"
"Hey, what's for dinner?" He interrupts me casually, as if he didn't even know I was talking.
"Why don't you tell me?" I snap. "The apartment's a sty and you've just been sitting on your ass all day playing Halo!"
This gets his attention. He looks up at me perplexed, unable to divine why I'm annoyed with him.
"Yeah sure, babe, I'll order a pizza or something. Don't sweat it." Before I can respond, he flashes a smile in my direction that undercuts my anger and instantly endears him to me all over again. Something about those puppydog eyes and the indescribable way he quirks his lips. That charismatic bastard. I cant stay mad at him.
He had a charming smile.
For me that's how it always starts.
A charming smile, a hint of cockiness and an inkling of flirtatiousness with...
You want me?
(more) Gets me every time.
And then I don't believe it. I get scared.
It's too good to be true, I deserve him?
But he just seems so...
So much better. He could do better than me.
But nope, he seems like he's really goin for it.
Alright, here I go.
Sex first, cause that's always my ice breaker (probably not for the best, but hey. It's all I've got right now.)
They seem impressed. So what now?
Hanging out. I'm nervous.
Then time passes. Months. We're in it now.
I start to see beneath the charming smile.
And it's not good. It's bad, in fact.
Everyone can see it, but I'm stuck on that goddamn smile.
I mean, sure. I can identify with what everyone sees.
and he knows it!
He knew it all along!
But then he knew I'd go for the fucking smile.
And now he knows me.
Beyond the sex.
Dammit, he's got me just where he wanted all along.
But I'm smart, strong, independent.
So I break it off.
...six months later we start back as friends.
Then more. Again.
...nine months later I regain my strength.
IT'S OVER. I say.
...six months. friends.lovers.
4 years the cycle goes round.
It's been three months now since I cut you off.
No explanations, no warning.
No more facebook messages or instagram pictures or drunk texts or calls or emails or secret meetups when I go back home.
I pulled up to the drive through menu with my window rolled down and vague thoughts about how hot it was rolling through my head. When the voice pushed its way past the speaker, through the static, and into my car to assault my eardrum, I could tell. That(more) guy on the other side of that speaker was just not having a good day.
His voice was heavy and expectant. Not in the I'm-bored-please-get-me-out-of-here sort of way, but in the Everyone-has-been-giving-me-hell-will-you-too? way. Something in that voice, snapped me out of my thoughts of the heat. I didn't actively think about it. I just reacted.
My voice was a complete contrast to his. It was light and perky and full of a smile that I had smashed convincingly on my face. I ended my order with "And if I could get a frozen hot chocolate that would be beautiful!"
When the voice came back on the speaker, I could tell that there was a difference. The static was still there, but there was a bit of a smile behind that voice and it wasn't as heavy.
When I pulled up to the second window, I grinned up at the man who took my money. I make sure to be extra grateful for the food, and the service was fast. The man had the most charming smile on his face before I pulled away with my food beside me.
It's funny, how easy it is to tear each other down and ruin each others day. It's funny how easy it would be to lift each other up if we only changed the direction of our efforts. Humans are funny. In that cruel, twisted humor. In just as twisted of a humor, I get a tiny thrill from going against the turn of the earth. I suppose if people started building each other up, I would have to become mean. Extremely anti-extremist. That's me. (less)
He could still remember that smile -- could still see it, if he shut his eyes, or squinted into the sun, superimposed in white and red. He had never been long without it, not even at funerals, not even leading the crowd at bloody riots. The girls(more) giggled and whispered when he directed that smile their way -- the boys bucked up, stood taller, spoke with greater fervor. His smile was the illuminating light of what he had christened the White Revolution. For the ministers and the king and their delicately judgmental, subtly prodding wives, it was the smile of a shark, white and red. Or, it was.
The punishment lacked no legitimacy. It was lawful, backed by long tradition, endorsed by foreign governments -- but in spite of all that governmental kerfuffle, it might as well have been designed specifically for this case, for this revolution, and for this man.
The stitches bled as he climbed the steps to the scaffold, the skin around the black thread swollen and already infected. With his charming smile sewn shut, the punishment for treason, he looked more like a desperate, broken man than the bright head of a very nearly successful revolution.
After that, the gallows were a mercy.(less)
I'm already at the fifth starred can and even though every next tape brings me closer to retching, I can't take my eyes off the flickering image. The thrill of the forbidden, the anxiety mingled with the hope that the world remains ignorant of what I'm doing.
(more) This must have been the feeling sought after by those citizens who had their eyes removed last week. Much as it confuses me, I find it to be quite intoxicating.
Maybe that's what's been keeping me from throwing up. Am I that twisted? Something in my training must have made me able to react like this.
Cue the Blind Mistress, who can actually see quite well. All Hands are guilty of feeling smug for knowing that little fact, myself included. Nor is she of mythical beauty. I couldn't be flayed for mistaking her for a peasant if I somehow found her on the streets without that ceremonial garb. Less wrinkled here than nowadays, perhaps, that she is.
The face of Harmony paces in front of her four Powers, a charming smile on her lips in spite of something entirely different in her eyes. I can't identify it, though I can tell the face of Justice glows with the same light.
Innocence is what I see on the others. Mercy, Humility--that suits them. Reason, not so much, which I find a tad unsettling. I feel an urge to yell at the screen, to alert him to what the Mistress and her Justice have been scheming for the past four tapes. I press a hand to my mouth lest I do just that.
A sudden flash of steel, a chair knocked over. The sound nearly sends my heart flying from my throat, but I'm still alone in the dark room. When they lunge, I cry.(less)
A charming smile
Beckoning me forth for a while
Pulling me closer and closer every day
I know it may seem cliché
I want you to be my first kiss
You are sweet and caring and give me bliss
(more) I wanted you to be mine since the first time we locked eyes
Since the day I realized "Hallo" could mean "Hello, I can fill that void in your soul"
I used to think I'd alway be on patrol
For the right guy
For the right place
But I think I've found you
Though I know I only have you for another week and a half
Your charming smile
Makes me want to walk every mile we have between us(less)