The little girl smiled. Her father noticed it though he was leading her by hand to their car in the parking lot. He was taking her home after school. He noticed her smile because he saw the bearded man sitting under a tree with a book in hand smiling at his daughter.
“Who is it?” Father asked the daughter.
“Who?” asked the girl in return.
“The man who smiled at you.”
“Why did you smile at him then?”
“Because he smiled.”
“Don’t smile at strangers,” he said sternly as he helped her on to the seat.
“Because,” he hesitated. How is he to explain to a four year-old child why strangers are potential enemies. “Because, strangers may not be good people.”
She looked at him. Did she expect an explanation? She had started asking a lot of why’s these days.
How can I explain this to you, my daughter? How can I tell you that most smiles today carry poison? Invisible poison. You won’t even understand how smiles can carry poison. Do you know the meaning of fangs? You have never seen the fangs beneath smiles, have you?
A time will come when the world will teach you about fangs and their poison. Do you think I don’t like smiles? If only people could smile like you, the world would be as lovely a place as Monet’s Garden. But even you will lose your smile as you grow up. The world will steal it. The world’s smoothest tongues will lick it up. Because all smooth tongues stick out from some masks. Masks, my little girl, masks rule the world.
PS. A real incident motivated this post. I’m taking the liberty to post a second entry to Indispire’s current theme of #masks. Interestingly, I was averse to the theme and had not voted for it. I find myself making a double entry now. :)