Tag Archives: relationships

Thought #33. Cottage for sale.


Thursday night.

Rachel is death to the world. Last night, she fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. She has been busy with her wedding preparation. Yesterday, she took the dress to The Wedding Boutique at Harrods to have it altered. Despite being allergic to London, her recent weight loss and the forthcoming event deserves her presence.

Fortunately, last month she stumbled upon the ad “Cottage with access to the silence, only the sounds of nature” when, at the dentist’s, she skimmed the classified section in a housing magazine. Rachel and John threw caution to the winds and took out a £120,000 mortgage to buy the cottage and the surrounding plot of land. She finally achieved her ambition to own a cottage.

John has just listened to Rachel’s voicemail message: “John, I can’t wait till tomorrow when you get back from your business trip. The weather forecast said a stormy night was expected there, in Dublin. Have a nice and safe trip. I’ll be here, waiting for you. Kisses!”. He takes a deep breath and peeps through the bathroom curtains into the bed.

The hotel room is cosy and warm, ridiculously expensive for the occasion. Luckily, Rachel’s damn cottage is out of mobile signal. He does not feel like calling her back. He chuckles to himself. “Let’s make a night of it, I’ll be there at the crack of dawn.”, he mumbles.

Friday morning.

Rachel wakes up in silence. John is snoring loudly. “He’s a terrible snorer.”, she smiles to herself. She abandons the room stealthily, trying not to make the slightest noise. She is proud of their relationship. Respect, fidelity, devotion, love… deep love. Rachel turns the radio receiver on. She is about to squeeze some oranges when she overhears a news bulletin.

“Due to the devastating storms, Dublin’s airspace remains closed since Thursday night. All UK flights have been postponed until next Monday when the storms are expected to recede. A shuttle-bus service is being arranged by Dublin Airport in association with the major flight operators. Nearly a thousand travellers are waiting for this service, which will become available later today and will bring them back to London, Manchester, Oxford and some other UK capitals.”

Rachel turns the receiver off. She picks up her phone. No signal. She goes outside and lifts it. The phone bleeps. A new SMS from “Aaa John” remains unopened. She hesitates for a brief moment before opening it. “Safe and cosy flight. Love you so much! CU”. Tears, anger, hatred. “Stay cool, she who laughs last, laughs best”.

Friday afternoon.

John wakes up. He feels dizzy. “Rachel?”. Nobody answers. The silence kills. He looks at the wall clock. The clock is dead. “Maybe I could have wound up the clock.”, he murmurs. He heads to the kitchen. He is starving. On the worktop, a torn out magazine page where a picture of the cottage stands visible. He grabs it and finds a handwritten message blurred in tears below the original ad. It says: “Cottage with access to the silence and an unused wedding dress, for sale”.

Thought #20. The power of an infectious grin.

Six o’clock in the morning and your alarm clock went off. Last night, you did not sleep a wink, tossing and turning all night long. You felt wretched by those nagging problems. A pile of things to do awaited you at work. On the radio, the weather forecast did not look promising. To top it all, you remembered that the car has broken down. Obviously, your patience was wearing thin at 7 a.m. and you were on the brink of a nervous breakdown. About to quickly abandon your apartment, wishing not to exist, thinking why on earth you are on the receiving end of life… Suddenly, you stumble upon the boy next door. A gentle and broad smile spreads over his face and your dismal day is over. The smile healing powers have emerged.

Smiling is also the universal language par excellence, a beautiful language shared by human beings, a gift from the gods and ultimately, a force to be reckoned with. However, all that glitters was not gold. According to a Scientific American column, the origin of grins and smiles goes back to our ancestors’ times. Through detailed observations of chimps and other primates, biologists and anthropologists have shown how baring one’s teeth denotes, in fact, an explicit threat or a show of unquestioned authority. Further investigation of ape’s smile has produced unexpected results: apparently, the display of a teeth-held grin is more a sign of submission than a show of power. The general consensus among experts is that it is precisely the submission trait what we have inherited.

Smiles and grins have been deeply ingrained in people since the advent of humanity. As any language, this one consists of carefully arranged building blocks; teeth, mouth, face and eyes are involved in the process of smiling. Luckily, evolution left its submissive character behind.

Thenceforth, we learned to combine those pieces to build a splendid array of expressive gestures. We can wear all kinds of smiles. An occasion may arise when you can wear a bright and broad smile because you are proud of something. You could also force a toothless one at your boss if he vetoed you taking any more time off. Just as revenge is sweet, a mocking smile or laughter might be sometimes pleasant. A flashed disarming smile could end up in hasty marriage. The most well-known method to convey an apology is certainly the apologetic one. A polite smile serves as an opening gambit in most speeches. An enigmatic smile may have puzzled you in the past. You should remember the reassuring smile that your parents used to give you. As you can imagine, this list would be never-ending.

One lesson about grinning and smiling is that despite all the beneficial effects, it is normally offered totally free of charge. Take advantage of this feature. Although you should always be dismissive of feigned or forced smiles (disavowal is, in this case, allowed), this must not prevent you from beginning each day with an infectious grin. Promise me!