My smile is my umbrella.
This silent smile, which hints at knowing some deep delicious secret. The smile that keeps people in their place and me in mine. It certainly doesn’t invite further inquiry.
What can you truly ask someone whose smile never falls? Who tells you it’s all fine. It’s always fine.
Who makes you feel unprepared, ravaged by storm and nature and all things messy.
Because you can’t just smile when things are not fine. So you stay away. And I smile, because it worked.
It deflects the world’s weather with an air of independence. The “I’m fine” of unaffectedness.
I can only feel the wind rushing about me and catching my hair up in swirls and tangles when the storms come and I lean in hard and try to hold on.
An umbrella does nothing to protect against winds of gale force. They crumple like folded paper or gather the wind like sails, pulling your arms high and loose and drag you while you clutch or flail.
Are you fine? Maybe.
Or maybe you stopped feeling at all. Maybe you are drifting through your days in a fog of duty, of carpool lanes, date night, and second service on Sundays because mornings are so tough, and eyes so hard to open after nights when sleep doesn’t come.
Maybe you go through the motions because the motions are all you have to keep you from never getting out of bed again.
Maybe you are tired, so very tired.
Maybe you never say, “No, I’m not fine. Far from it. It’s hard, this life stuff and this ridiculous umbrella is getting heavy,” and the corners of your mouth begin to drag low and down and you almost tell the truth. Tell it all and don’t worry about the response.
Because it is so hard and maybe they know the hard too. But maybe they don’t know storms and messy hair and blinding gusts whipping you senseless.
Maybe you should just smile and tell them you’re fine.
Because no one can touch you, the rain bounces merrily from your canopy while you feel only the rushing of the wind blocking out all sound.
And in that moment you wonder, perhaps it would be better to get wet? Sopping, sloppy, soaked, and cold. Drenched through or blushing pink from the sun’s bath and not try to maintain an order that doesn’t really exist.
Splash in the puddles and let your hair get soaked.
Remember when we were kids and raindrops were ecstasy?
And we never got tired of muddy shoes and wet clothes and the wind in our hair.