The smiling woman

Have you heard of the woman who would travel from one corner of the city to another every morning, and throughout her journey in the bus, she would look out from the window and smile? She’d look at every face, every set of eyes she could manage to through the speeding bus, and smile. Some faces smirked, some eyes gleamed, some eyebrows cringed, while some lips even smiled back.

Might there have not been days when the smiling woman would have wanted to frown, or cry or look away? If you would have seen her, you would have wondered, just like a few familiar faces that were smiled upon every morning wondered. But she never seemed to have given anything other than a smile. And sometimes, especially if it were a kid, it was complimented with a friendly blink.

Passers by on the route strangely recognized her when questioned about the ‘woman who smiles from the bus’, and talked about her with varied emotions. But almost everyone talked about her eyes.

They said her eyes reflected genuineness, and on some days, especially on days when one was feeling low, her eyes seemed to look through their faces and straight into their minds. Some believed that she was some kind of an angel, or some mystical being, who could read minds and calm them with a serene glance. Such persons awaited her bus to cross their daily routes. There were also many a young men who witnessed her gracious smile bloom amidst the fluttering strands of hair that blocked their view of her face. They said they thought her smile was mischievous, beautiful and ‘calling’. And they missed it ever since the day of her mysterious disappearance.

How beautiful must that smile have been, to be remembered by strangers even months after its disappearance. How special must that woman have been, how beautifully mysterious, to have found herself a place in the hearts of people who never could decrypt her?

And where did she disappear? Why is that young face missing from the frame of the bus’ window? Where did the smiling woman go?

Weeks later, a young man found her. That was the first time she was seen without a smile.


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