my Smile Endures

I sit in the street, cup clutched in frail hands, waiting for coins to be caught in it. My skin is tight from exposure to the sun, my hair wispy and thin. I look old, feel old, and slowly accept that I am old. All but my eyes, kept young by floods of tears.

They peer out into the crowds, watching the people mill and migrate through the town. I am lost in their similarities, struck by the way that they are all cut-outs of the same clay.

Except for one man.

He walks down the street, striking an opposite to myself. He stands tall, strong legs carrying him with an air of importance. I sit hunched, scrawny limbs folded before me. His jaw is set, his lips a tight line. My smile shows yellowed teeth and a glimpse into the madman I have become.

His eyes catch mine, and his walk slows.

“Spare something for me, sir?” The smile remains on my face.

It starts to rain, the heavens weeping the tears I have already lost.

The man’s eyes roll, and he starts on his way again, ignorant of my pleas.

Until his eye is caught once more.

My cup outstretched, it catches the rain and the man’s gaze in the same instant. A pearl of water hangs at the cusp, trapped on the crown. It slides in slowly, and becomes a grain of gold.

Eyes widen. Feet stop. My smile endures.

“Where did you–? How did you–?” he gasps as the rain and the realization both soak in.

My smile endures.

The End

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