A piece of flash fiction for the Daily Inkling prompt—beaming.
Why does she smile at me so broadly, the woman on the tram? She doesn’t know me. Is it to disarm; is she short sighted and fears offending, stepping on toes, not recognising a friend?
She showers her sunny beams on anyone who catches her eye. I half expect her to get out a tambourine and start a sing-song for Jesus. She smiles as though her good humour will make the rest of us feel better. It doesn’t.
I guess she smiles because it makes her feel good to distribute her largesse with such generosity. I can hear her arteries applauding. But the old man hunched next to her might have just lost his wife, the man behind, coughing into his hand have an incurable cancer. Her undiscriminating bounty is offensive to those who have nothing to smile about.
I glare at her and turn away, look out of the window. In the grimy glass, I see her face reflected, a brief relaxation of the facial muscles when she thinks no one can see, and for a fleeting moment, as her fingers fiddle aimlessly with the strap of her bag, her eyes fill up with desolation.