The Perfect Smile

20 Oct

smileBefore I even reached the cash register, I stared at the items cradled in my arms: black leatherette lace-up gloves, golden lace gloves, suede feathered elbow bands and a ginormous bag of Pirate’s Booty I planned to devour as soon as I left the store. I’m not sold on the black gloves, I admitted before “Mommy! Mommy!” interrupted my thoughts. I glanced towards the basket where she sat. Plaits swinging, head twisting side to side with arms uplifted, her “Mommy, mommy” song continued even though her Mom stood inches away. As soon as the mom took a step or two away, her chorus resumed.

As I giggled and watched their little act of her cries and mom’s twostep, I noticed a long dark scar along the bridge of the toddler’s nose. Jagged and stretching from eye to cheek, it made her brown skin seem like an ill-fitted mask. I tried not to stare as I wondered what accident would leave such a reminder. A fire? A bullet? A belt?

She met my glance, revealing an identical scar along the right side, cradling her nose. She gave me the biggest brightest smile I had ever seen and eagerly returned my wave. It warmed my soul. I immediately smiled and waved hello. “Hi cutie,” I sang. As her mom whisked her away in her basket, I beamed and prayed that the girl grows up to be just as brilliant, confident and beautiful as she was as she was that day. At that moment, I realized, a pretty smile is more than a perfect alignment of molars. It’s the soul behind the grin.

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