Does Your Face Hurt?

When I was child, my father would ask me, “Does your face hurt?” I’d look at him and shrug my shoulders to express, “Huh? I don’t know.” Then he would answer his own question of me, “Well, it is killing me.” Wasn’t this a sad thing to tell a well-behaved pretty daughter? I understood his playful intent, but it was so nonsensical, I did not know how to play back. When I had not response, we would move onto something else.

Now at 64 my face does hurt. There is a paper-thin ring of fatigue, sadness and regret around my eyes, which are small under the folds of my heavy eyelids, heavy from defying gravity for six decades. You cannot live this long without lots of pain and loss. Any day, anytime, anywhere, I close my eyes and luxuriate in resting.

My face aches from heaviness. I work to hoist a smile on my face, so that it does not appear to hurt. That would be too sad to bear. I follow the sage advice of my mother, “acting as if makes it so,” and I smile and the whole world smiles with me.

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