IT REALLY IS HOW YOU LOOK
Facial expressions, AND expressive faces, say so much more about the person than words.
Largely these are characteristics one may associate with intelligent people.
The not-very-bright tend towards dullness and often look displeased.
Or arrogant, mean-spirited, and upset at the world.
If they have any expressions at all.
I’ve seen him a number of times, usually around noon when he stands cap in hand at the intersection. Most recently near tea-time, when I was coming back from the tobacco store.
As usual, we recognized each other and I gave him a dollar.
But he wanted more.
"I'm sorry, I haven't eaten in three days..."
Considering how skinny he is, I did not doubt him. Whether it was the actual three days preceding or an abstract three days sometime in the past is not material.
He's white haired, probably seems even older because of ill-health and a hard life. And at that time of day panhandling in the Financial District is far more a hopeless task than during lunch. At least around mid-day people have a bit more leisure, and their own esurience may cause them to feel a measure of sympathy. At the end of the working day all they want to do is get on the train or bus and get the hell out. And, as you know, most people are convinced that the poor are undeserving, and in any case should get a job.
I could hear how desperate he was, and his eyes said the same.
So of course I gave him enough for lunch.
No other choice.
She was at the cash register when I went up to pay for my food.
I hadn't seen her in over a fortnight, and I had been worried that perhaps she had quit, or been laid off. She's one of the people I always like to see when I get lunch there. Her eyes cannot hide the vulnerability which she herself does not know is a subtext to her face. That alone establishes a connection. But she also has other qualities.
We both smiled when we said nei-ho, and chitchatted a bit.
I smiled because I genuinely like to see her. She's a nice woman, and has a considerateness that some women have, that they never lose. It usually does not work in their favour. They tend to be more caring in their relationships and conscientious in their dealings with coworkers and customers. They themselves never realize how easily they can be wounded.
I'm guessing she smiled because she knows that I'm a safe quantity.
At least I hope she thinks so, as my face sometimes makes people nervous; deep-set eyes and slightly severe eyebrows can have that effect. She has a lovely smile.
Anyway, I was glad to see her again.
It's good having her back.
Lunch was excellent.
Such a pretty little girl. No, I cannot really recall what she looked like, but what her face was doing at that moment made her beautiful. The family were obviously just visiting the city, and strolled past me as I was smoking outside the office building. The father and his young daughter first, the mother and her kid brother following. The dad had a gently abstracted look to his eyes, the little girl was utterly glowing with pride and happiness walking beside him. Her brother did not look nearly as pleased, or as personable.
While the dad visited the insta-teller, the child looked around with good-natured bright-eyed curiosity, and the other two wandered off to the intersection.
She took his hand when he had finished his transaction.
I suspect that she will get so much more out of the vacation trip than her mother or her brother.
And her dad will have wonderful memories of taking his kids to San Francisco.
But I suspect that he will remember his daughter's joy best.
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