The Smile | Teen Ink

The Smile

April 3, 2015
By DrummerHoff GOLD, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
DrummerHoff GOLD, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
10 articles 18 photos 1 comment

I met him for the first time
when my parents and I were just the crust of society
and I still believed in love
when he stopped in our town
on his way to the royal palace
to paint the new king
and I begged my parents to implore my uncle
to host my coming out party
in his lavish city villa
to ensure my lover would attend
before the horse fell and broke its femur
and my mother died upon impact.
When I first met him
he told me he would return one day to paint me
once I’d acquired that one thing—
he never did tell me what it was;


I met him for the second time
quite by chance in the city
but he never asked why I was out—
without an escort—before the light of day
and I still didn’t have that one thing
but he’d be seeing me again
and he went on his way
muttering under his breath and I started
out to meet my lover in the hay
the scent of almonds on his breath
caressed my neck and played over my lips
and I swore I’d never eat anything
but almonds while we were parted;

I met him for the third time
on a hill above the town
where I’d met him that first day
back before the riding accident
and the party the gave my life away
before the new king went to war
and took my lover—his brother—with him
not dead but exiled from the palace
by the noblemen at my party
and those who didn’t approve of his debauching ways
after the letter snuck to me by my childhood friend—
dressing maid really—unbeknownst to my father
from my lover who didn’t believe he was good enough—
that being exiled somehow made him unworthy of my love
and the resulting ceremony that bound me to my uncle
making me the step-mother of my cousin;


That third time I met him was the one
I finally had that thing—
that one thing—and I was to come to
his studio in the city and sit for him
with my son—the young one truly mine—
and that one thing that now I had
so he could capture me in all my splendiferous glory
while my son played with bobbles on the floor at my feet
and I sat still—so very still—so as not to
interrupt his creative genius
or ruin that thing—that one thing—that now I had
that only he seemed able to see

And when at last I was painted upon the hills of my hometown
I implored him for the last time and he gave saying
life had molded me from the girl I once was
to the woman I am today—
and that one thing I asked him
that no one else possesses
that only he can see
but he said he had to be on his way
that he couldn’t keep a paying customer waiting
that my face with that one thing that he and one other could see
was not for me or for himself—though he wished it could be—
but for none other than my lover
eternally in love with me.

The author's comments:

after "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo de Vinci

ideas taken from "The Smile" by Donna Jo Napoli 

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.