Underneath the Beautiful Smile

April 30, 2012
The girl was three feet away from me, her eyes bright with unshed tears. I looked back at her with pity in mine, and hatred. Nobody knew. Nobody knew that she had promised her father that she would travel the world and write a memoir for him. Nobody knew that she'd written a letter for him at five years old that begged him to come home and take her away with him. She'd made sure that her pain and anger at him stayed hidden, that even her closest friends couldn't open the lock on those feelings. But in her heart she'd stayed true to him. She knew that she would follow her heart and her creative mind to wherever it led her, whether to pain or happiness. No matter that every time she saw her, her mom always told her how ugly she was and how she could be so much more. No matter that her stepfather locked her in her room every day and kept her from eating every other night.
Her beautiful blond hair and bright blue eyes had led her to a boy. He had been wonderful. Beautiful, thoughtful, creative and talented, what else could a girl ask for? He could draw like she could write. It was the work Angels, she'd thought. Sometimes they would do a project together, he would draw a picture and she would write a story around the picture. It had been amazing, a beauty unmatched by any other. Together they were practically unstoppable, she thought. Until the day that he left her. She had begged him to stay, cried and threatened him, but he left her all the same. She had even written him a letter expressing her feelings. But like the letter she'd written her father, the boy didn't reply. This pain, though, was a thousand times worse than when her father had left. The boy had had a choice. He made the decision to break her heart in a million pieces. To spit on those pieces and rub them into the dirt.
Unlike her father. Her father had never had the choice. He had not chosen to let the cancer attack his body. He fought against it with everything he'd had. But everything wasn't enough to stay with her. She had known that. She came to accept it. And so every week when she went to his grave, she read him a new letter, a letter that let him know how much she loved him. Her father had never been able to save her. But the boy had. The boy had the chance to save her. And he chose not to.
The girl smiled at me, her beautiful, unbreakable smile. I just smirked back knowing something she didn't: the girl that had promised her father that she would never give up, the girl who had known she would always follow her dreams, that girl, was gone. And she was never coming back. I slammed my fist into the mirror, shattering years of dreams and hopes, because underneath the beautiful smile, I didn't have the strength to go on.

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