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A Smile and a Wink

Photo by Myrna Greenberg

A Smile and a Wink

(From Brainstorms&

Artwise Poetry Roulette Cards)

With a smile and a wink,

you touched my heart.

And though our tales

seem worlds apart,

when we let our guards down,

we find common ground.

For beyond the outer frame

what makes us human is the same:

our heart,

our divine spark,

the still part

that knows

what we all really want.


I woke up Monday morning to a rainy day. I was tired. The kind of tired coffee can’t fix. The kind of tired that feels like gravity is pulling every cell of my body into a deep central core.

All I wanted was a slow day, a go nowhere day, a sink-into-the-vibe-of-the-weather and retreat into myself sort of day. But I had a physical therapy appointment scheduled that I knew was important.

I spent most of the thirty-minute drive to my appointment thinking about how tired I was, imagining that I might get to take a nap later in the day, and hoping my physical therapist, who is also a dear friend, wouldn’t make me exert myself too much.

I turned off the main road and pulled up to the gate with the security booth. I've been given a temporary parking pass with a bar code that the guard can scan so I don’t need to be announced each time. Typically, the man who sits in the booth barely looks over at me as he scans the card so as I approached the gate, I felt a wash of relief knowing that I wouldn't need to engage in conversation. Then I felt sad about how relieved I felt. How far had I burrowed that simply saying hello to someone felt like too much effort?

As the guard reached out to scan my card, I dug down as far as I could to bring myself out of the cocoon I had wrapped myself in. With as much energy as I could muster, I lifted my voice and asked, “How's your morning going?”

He looked at me. He never looks at me. His face shapeshifted into a radiant beam of delight as he smiled broadly and said, “Great! How 'bout you?”

“I’m great, too,” I responded in a way that felt more natural than I would have expected.

He looked me straight in the eyes and added, “Thank you so much for asking.”

He scanned the card. The gate opened. And I drove on, wondering why I had said I that was great when I had spend the whole morning wallowing in how I didn't feel great. Then I realized that, for that brief moment, I really was great. Something about that brief glimmer of connection allowed me to remember the fullness of who I am.

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