I will not start this story with the question of what a smile is. Let me tell you instead something about that 13 year old boy. He is nice, quiet, shy and smiles genuinely all the time. Why you ask? Well I guess it just is his nature. He has nothing to complain about.
The boy likes school, coming along with everyone and visiting his friend almost every day to play video games. He has kind of a carefree life.
But there is something, a feeling, a desire in him. A desire to be loved; not love as from family; rather like that from a girl. You could say his wish for a girlfriend was always there since this time. There were a few girls who looks cute in his class. Reason enough to get a crush on one right?
However, quiet and shy as the boy is, he never really has done anything for this desire to be fulfilled. It was okay; he was still smiling with all his heart.
At the age of 16 the boy was finally brave enough to confess his crush to one of his now former classmates. Took him a while, huh? Better late than never, I guess.
The confession hadn’t the outcome he was hoping for. He had tried to confess in person, only to get told by the girl that she had no time at the moment. Ignoring the signs he wrote her a SMS with what he felt. You can imagine what response came back from the girl.
Of course this hit the boy hard; his first confession and he got rejected. This was the first time his smile crumbled a bit.
The boy discovered the magic of the internet, with its wonderful place for talking to people without seeing them face to face. It is a lot easier to write to others than to speak to them in person.
As you can may imagine the boy fell in love with another girl at that internet thing. It is doomed from the start you think? Well it worked out for his sister, so why not for him too?
Anyway it was all sunshine and unicorns again, the smile as bright as never. They talked as often as they could with each other, over phone or in the internet. He never was so much in love like that his entire 18 years of life.
Still shy as the boy is, he never made an attempt to met up with the girl he loved. So it happens what had to happened. The girl fell in love with another guy.
You think that’s it? Not even close. The girl still loved the boy too, but also another one. It was weird, but enough reason for him to fight over her.
So it comes that they finally met each other. Not in private, but at a festival which they both visited. Let me say it like that. It did not go well from the beginning. The boy still doesn’t know why, but the next day the girl had strange behavior towards him. The boy asked the girl, why she was acting like that and the girl herself hadn’t an answer. Or she didn’t want to tell him.
The details of what happened afterwards are forgotten by now. All I can say is that his heart has one more scar, one more weight on the smile he has.
In all that time he still played videogames with his childhood friend, so he had at least that constant in his life, and it’s not like the worlds gonna end because of one girl right?
What? Why are you looking at me like that? Bored? I should come to the point? Chill dude, it will all make sense, but fine.. if you want I’ll speed up!
Just let me tell you that he had similar experiences from now on. Some crushes from the internet and they all turned out to not be fulfilled. He met up with another girl on a festival. Yes they knew each other from the internet too, but he wasn’t in love with her. They were just friends. The strange thing is, it happened again.. The next day after the festival the other girl was strange towards him, and again the girl had no explanation for this.
“Is something wrong with me?”
The next few years were kinda the same for the boy. He spent all day in his room, playing games alone or with his childhood friend and chatting with people at the internet. Still, the desire for someone who loves him remains. Nevertheless he kept up smiling.
At least most of the time. There were these moments of slight depression, feeling lonely deep inside his heart. At these times the smile wasn’t as strong as before, but he kept it up because he didn’t want others to worry about him.
Expressing his thoughts, his inner world always came easier for the boyby writing with other people via messages, than by talking with others in the real world. There he was more like a silent observer, mostly described as shy.
“I’m not shy, I’m just quiet”!
That statement was true by now, not like in the boys earlier years.
Introversion is a concept not known or well accepted in our world today. I’m sorry to digress a bit, I just wanted to bring this in here somehow. Like the boy, others might feel there is something wrong with them because of that silent behavior. So please look up the concept of Introversion vs. Extroversion, it might helps.
The boy never could fully connect with his family; not that he tried anyway. There was just this invisible obstacle which didn’t let him connect with his parents or other family members. An exception was the boys sister. As far as he knows they never had a fight.
Even so he never told his family or his real life friends anything about his feelings or these unfortunate events.
For what reason you ask? The boys feeling of no real connection with anyone in real life, the fact they don’t understand his silent behavior at all, the thought that there is something wrong with him and mostly, his not wanting to burden anyone with his problems at all.
The boy is now 21 years old. The need for something to change, to try and do what other people do, took over and he began to go out of his room.
“Maybe I’ll find someone this way.”
Don’t misunderstand him, to find a girlfriend was just part of the reason. Wanting but not forcing would describe it pretty well.
Armed with his not as strong, but still bright smile, the boy hung out together with a group of people, thanks to his childhood friend. With some of them he was playing games via the internet, so not all were strangers to him. His quiet character never stopped other people from liking the boy, for whatever reason.
It felt great to be part of a group, to meet with people for barbeque, cinema or just to chill together. The boy even was in a disco a few times. A waste of time in his opinion though. All the people do there is dance awkwardly and drink alcohol… fun right?
Anyway I forgot to mention that his childhood friend has a girlfriend now. She was a more the energetic, not always on time, straight forward type. And they got along great.
Nearly a year has passed for the boy. To be part of the clique strengthened his smile more and more. Still without a girlfriend he nevertheless enjoyed the time with his friends.
One day the childhood friend’s girlfriend asked him, what he thinks of a certain girl in their group.
“I wouldn’t say no if something were to develop”
The boy had never much spoken with the girl in question, but lately the girl began to talk with him herself and on that one party she even made some unexpected body contact with him. What? No, no kisses or other dirty things! What are you thinking? Just subtle and not that subtle touches.
A couple of weeks later, as the girl talked with the boy, she suggested watching DVD together and the boy agreed to it.
“Maybe it is finally my turn.”
The talks, the touches and the offer. After all the signals coming from the girl the hope arises in him. And on top of that, she was cute.
So what do you think happens now? Well lets see.
3 month has past since the offer from the girl. The boy asked 3 times when they want to meet up for that. The response was always the same, the gir dosn’t have time for the next two weeks.
Disappointment, sadness and anger were the feelings after the last time. However, the boy still had hopes, so he covered all this feelings behind a smile.
It was at a birthday party. They were sitting on the same couch, with a two friends between them. Thanks to the short distance he could overhear the conversation they took. The other two friends were nosy and asked her in various ways why she has no time lately.
As the boy heard the reason, heard that the girl already has a boyfriend, he couldn’t help but just feel anger towards her. In the next few days and weeks this anger turned slowly into disappointment and more and more sadness. Old wounds in his heart tears open and all the old feelings and thoughts, successfully hidden behind a smile come back to the surface again.
“Why always me”?
It wasn’t like the boy had a big crush on her, it was more like it happened again. His hopes shattered like always. Reliving it all again.
“What is wrong with me?”
However, as always the boy knew he would manage somehow. He just needed time.
Of course he met less often with his clique, to avoid the girl and more to avoid the bad memories which came with seeing her. Just a few people from the group knew of his little crush on the girl, but not of his past thought. They never asked him and the boy never said much about himself.
Despite all that he hoped that at least someone would ask about his well being, that someone would care about him. He even wrote the childhood friends girlfriend a few times, asked how she was, but the question was never returned
“Do they even care about me?”
Disappointment towards his friends were added to the sadness he already felt thanks to the recent events. The boy decided to test his friends. He broke all the contact with them. No more activities with the group. No more messages. Nothing.
After two months no one had tried to contact the boy. No questions of what he is doing or why he doesn’t meet up with them anymore.
“How difficult is it to ask how I am? It takes less than a minute to write that message!”
In that time anger, disappointment and sadness at once were added to the feelings already there from the events with the girl. His smile weakened, and was shown less often now.
Occasionally the boy met his childhood friend and his girlfriend at the gym. He was about to leave and tried to ignore they both. On the way out he was stopped by his childhood friend’s girlfriend. The long awaited question about his well being finally was asked. But too late. He already had abandoned them inside him.
There was no big fight, just a little argument. All in all the boy told them that they not contacted him for two month and the childhood friend’s girlfriend was mad at him for not congratulating a person from the clique. His childhood friend just stood by and said nothing at all.
“They don’t contact me for two month and now they are mad at me?”
And that was the last time the boy ever had spoken with anyone of his former friends. No trying to contact them. No trying to talk things out. Nothing.
Sadness, anger, disappointment, loneliness were the feelings he covered behind a fake smile.
Not knowing what to do the boy focused himself on the one thing that gives him joy. Sport.
Going to the gym and going for a ride on his bike were his main activities now, The boy increased the frequency of these activities to distract him from all the recent events and the sad feelings.
One day the boy suddenly had pain in his knees. It even has hurt when he sat down, without doing anything at all.
And that finally broke the boy. Being all alone, not being loved by someone, without any friends who care about him, pain in his heart and his body. The only thing he felt now was sadness.
And the smile was gone.
You think this is the end of the story? Not quite yet. It is just a little left.
“No one would even miss me.”
“What is wrong with me?”
“I don’t care if I would drive down that cliff.”
“I have no reason to smile.”
The only thing that stopped the boy from harming himself in the coming years was his family. Not because they supporting him, which they tried the best they could. No, it was the thought that they would be sad when he would do it. He tried to connect with them, which was success to a certain degree. However the boy realized that his family simply could not give him love in the way he needs. Nevertheless no one should suffer because of him.
The boy is now 26 years old. In the last years nothing much really happened. He was back in the safety of his room all day. Doing nothing other than sit at his computer, surfing at the internet, chatting with others or playing some games.
His knees have recovered enough to do a certain amount of sport; not as much as he wants to do though.
Of course there were some better days, but all in all the pain and sadness inside the boy outweighed it.
On his vacation, the boy decided to finally play this game he saw a bit at a Let’s Play half a year ago.
After finishing it, he didn’t know what had hit him. All his thoughts were focused on this game now.
After 2 month the boy decided to make a video about this game.Thanks to the video he found this one place. A place that feels warm and bright. A place where he can be himself and feel understood. A place that just feels like family.
After a few days hanging out there he felt better than he had in a long time.
And something gleams inside the boy. A warm feeling. A sudden light. Just a spark. But this spark carries the hope to, someday again, grow into a genuine