Toxicity behind the Smile

By Brittany Capozzi

“Toxicity behind the Smile” first appeared in Curry Arts Journal 2008. 

            The facial expression of a loved one paints itself into a joyful grin, but beware because behind it may be where the voiceless lies hide.

            When you glance at your reflection in the mirror do you see yourself as someone else?  Do the lines around your eyes show wisdom that is inevitably aging, or do they unmask fresh lies from the core of your heart?  There’s an apparent similarity between you and the mirror; both seem to be withering away into a different image.  You attempt to polish the picture, but it’s not so easy, is it?  To obliterate what is seen at the surface does not omit what is seared on the inside.

             Yet, you smile.

            Labeling is a negative judgment call, but you are indeed known as a “Good Guy.”  Do those favors you offer truly stay fresh or have they gone stale?  You keep busy day after day, season after season.  Your patience grows thinner, turning into a single thread through the years, as does time.

            Still, you smile.

            As unsentimental as you are, you ironically corner your secret of hurting, too, don’t you?  Hurting…not yourself but those close to you.

            Your footprints have been scarred into my backbone, making the full support I once had shatter into fragments of neglect.

            You smile.

            Do you believe in the perfect love coming to an end?  No evidence has shown that it does; however, the passing of time clarifies that it happens to the best of us.  Marriages evaporate into thin air these days as puppy love denies itself years later.  Or does it?  Does the love for something created evanesce?

            You keep your smile,

            while deceitfully appearing honest.

            Just because the words are not written on the blank page doesn’t mean they are not there in your mind.  Keep smiling, show off your pearly, “polished” teeth.  Let the clown mask drown out your thoughts so I won’t hear them.

            But I do.

            As I distance myself from you,

            I too smile.

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