Smile With Your Eyes
A couple weeks back, I took a (rare!) trip out of my house to go to FedEx. My internship had recently concluded, and I was required to ship my company-issued laptop back, for obvious reasons. (On an un-related and semi-odd note, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of writing about this particular laptop; it's also name-dropped in this article I wrote for Her Campus.)
Moving on - I was in FedEx, keeping approximately eight feet of distance between the person in front of me and myself (you can't ever be too safe), when the next customer was called up to the counter. He realized I was only dropping off a package with a pre-paid label on it, that it would only take a second, and mumbled through his mask, "You can go ahead of me!"
I smiled. "Are you sure?"
He nodded enthusiastically."Of course, you're only dropping off."
"See, look how easy it is to be kind to each other!" The FedEx clerk chimed in. You could hear the smile in his voice, though his N95 mask concealed the majority of his face.
"Yes!" And then I realized aloud, "The sad thing about wearing these masks is that you can't see anyone's smile anymore."
"But you can see it in their eyes!" The man who let me go ahead of him in line added.
We all laughed.
I hadn't thought about it like that, but he had a point. Though I couldn't see anyone's smile through their masks, by tonality of voice and more importantly, the way their eyes crinkled with laughter, I knew we were all grinning. It was a mundane moment that would have made me smile in ordinary times, but even more so in these unfamiliar ones. More importantly, it reminded me that human kindness is omnipresent, able to be found everywhere, despite hardship. It was also the first time I felt like a human being again in ages.
I'll admit, I'm still a little saddened by not being able to see a smile (and I know I'm not the only one - I recently talked to my Aunt about this!). But until it's safe to bear a grin again, I'll be smiling with my eyes. That's enough for me right now.
Image credit: @fromyourmuse on i.g.