A Study in Dichotomy

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17/02/2016 by Siddiqui Fayesal


She had that exact ‘broken smile’ that I had imagined what a broken smile would look like. Every time Levine crooned the line, I was transported in a dimension where time was unending, boundary-less and infinite. A warm glow would rise from deep inside and spread itself like the lights of the sun and the moon that were fashioned afresh by Aule and Tilion.

A small yelp of overwhelming emotion almost escapes me but I choke it down. Always. It is usually frowned upon when a young man weeps over a romantic story or a song. Men don’t weep. It is considered a sign of weakness and this is no time for me to start getting effeminate.

But that was then. Now I can now finally open up about the crying I did when I was all alone. Nobody will judge me for it; especially, if the confession comes out in audience comprising of just one person.

Yes, the girl with the exact broken smile. The one I call mine.

I told her everything about the song and the wild emotion it caused inside of me. I told her that even before I had met her, even before I knew about her existence, I was certain that the girl with that proverbial smile would come to me willingly.

I would say anything to make her smile. Nobody knew the highs of love and adoration like that girl. Her smile was the reason why I went to work every day. To see her give me that wide welcoming smile every morning.

She chirped a feminine ‘Good morning, Sir’ every morning for me. If she only knew.

I had promised myself that I’d never let her get away. After all, I rationalized, all a girl needed was a lover. And I was a lover, wasn’t I?

Didn’t I push her over the edge with my love, my almost fetishist attraction to her lips, my zealous and holy respects I paid to her body?

But I wasn’t very truthful to her. Never be completely honest with dames. They cant handle the truth like men can.

I didn’t tell her for example that the very first time I saw her it wasn’t her ‘broken smile’ that captivated me. I didn’t tell her that the smile wasn’t really broken in the first place. I didn’t tell her anything about how different she was in my head.

The girl was just an unmodified graphic version of my dreams.

But her lips were all wrong.

I didn’t tell her.

I showed her how God got it all wrong. How He messed it up.

I used a scalpel.

The gods looked down upon me in envy as she smiled that broken smile for me.


She smiled it for me the first time only in my head.

That smile came too true to me. Yes. Of course, I would wait for her in the pouring rain.

And more.

I didn’t need to though.

She came to me instead. I must’ve done something right in my past live, or lives, if you must. The girl with that curly hair and kohl lined eyes and, yeah, the weird smile, comes to me and asks me why I was staring at her. The Gods gave me strength and I shyly mumble the first thing that hit me.

“I loved your hair”, I said sheepishly. I didn’t even look up from my plate of strawberry cup cake. Only when I realized that I won’t be slapped did I steal a slow glance, and the slow glance lost all its intent and purpose.

Her smiled slowed the time down and I got lost in a totally new and different dimension. It simply made her smile wider and it turned into the most beautiful of laughter that I had ever heard.

Of course, she was a little embarrassed and taken aback, she later told me.

The warmth that radiated within me when she smiled her broken smile was incomparable  to any other sensation, mental or physical, that was humanly possible.

When I showed her off to my friends and relatives as the enchanting woman with the enigmatic and broken smile, they agreed with two out of three. Stopping at full refusal, they almost outright renounced the broken smile part and relegated it to the chasms of my deep seated imagination. No matter how hard I tried to explain that she was almost a near perfect graphical rendition of what the phrase means and that if they only let themselves ‘see’ it, they would realise that nothing comes closer than it to describe it.

In movie theaters when all were busy watching what was playing on the screen, I chose to spend the larger part looking at her. In the initial days, I was afraid of getting caught and being confused for a creep. But, as time passed by and we got more comfortable I stared at her without a pause, without a break. I’d hear dialogues and if they seemed cute she’d turn her head to me and catch me red-handed. I’d blush like a school boy when she caught me looking at her. This was the only way I could show my love and adoration. I wasn’t a very vocal person.

I even loved to see her weep. I knew she loved those movies that made her cry, so I took her to them all. She wept at every remotely mushy scene. I wept in secret for the purity of her tears and the beauty of her smile.

My angel understood my glances and caresses as my devotion. She never asked for more.

She was satisfied.

Siddiqui F.

NB: I wrote this in a sitting. I really don’t know what the official video says about this broken smile. This is just the way I saw it. I wrote this as an exercise of practicing contrast. I had tried this earlier with a poem, but I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out to be. This one, here, is more to my liking. A stretch upon the spectrum of emotions, a walk from one end to another.

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