on the way to the office yesterday morning, in my rush to get there by 8:34, bc four minutes late is not as bad as five or ten, i stole two extra seconds to look into the eyes of the man who looked like he thought he knew me. or something. i didn't know his eyes, but his nose and lips, i had seen them before. maybe on another face. noses, i find them offensive, usually. misshapen, obtrusive. not nice to look at. i have a thing for mouths. they are living oil paintings...every smile or word is another stroke of the brush, layering over the last stroke; every pucker or flinch of the lips, a touch of color from a quick flick of the painter's wrist.
there's a tiny space in time, immediately before and immediately as a smile comes to be. it's my favorite; it's when the mouth does the most wonderful things to look at. my friend, she has the most fantastic smile. the right side of her upper lip rises and curves outward, away from her teeth, ever so slightly, and it looks so nice against her skin, which is so smooth and has not even the hint of age and is never, ever hidden under a layer of blush or powder. i have a picture of her, where that perfect moment in her smile is captured. it's in a box of old ones, before digital. sometimes i come across it, and her smile makes me smile, and it just endears her to me all the more. i've said many times that i don't know what i'd do without her. you know how that sort of thing goes...i'd just say it casually, as if i were dropping off a package at her doorstep. here ya go, friend. recently, though, i actually stopped to realize how true it is. it's as if my mouth knew all along, but the rest of me had to catch up. there are a precious few people i am attached to as i am to her. i like it that way.
last night my friend said i have an icy exterior. before he said it, i saw the thought forming on his face, his mouth especially. it looked like the thought was a piece of candy he was sucking on—a fireball or a lemonhead came to mind—and he was trying to decide when to spit it out. whatcha thinkin? and he said he thinks i'm crabby, always mad about something or other, which made me laugh, and then came the icy part, followed by "but i think it's a front"...i laughed again and said no, it's real. how much of that ice will form, and how it will form, well it just depends. it's tedium, complicated. i'm uninterested in it...except when it's entertaining. but either way, it's as much a part of me as the soft, warm part that realizes i'd be lost without my friend w the fantastic smile.