Chasing after a smile


Asila Sabouri

A small bunny that I made for my friend’s birthday

In a sea of monotonous homogeneity, a romantic hue of red next to me catches my eye—a charming, quaint jewel illuminates her neck. In most instances, I won’t say a thing, but this is an exception. With just a few words, her face begins to gleam as bright as her necklace. 

I never say anything complex, just a few passing words as someone goes by. It is but a small, simple compliment to express a genuine, momentary thought in my mind.

Fortuitous compliments seem to bring the greatest joy. A person’s captivating style can radiate all the effort put into fashioning their look: assembling their outfit, styling their hair, and meticulously applying their makeup. Their stunning, prominent efforts are more than deserving of a simple compliment from a stranger.

There’s something evidently magical about watching someone’s face go from having a far-off look to gleaming with gratitude: a genuine look of happiness. I never know the person for more than a moment, yet their smile tells me I’ve made all the difference—even if it’s just for that point in time. 

The feeling of knowing that I have changed someone’s day for the better, even for a moment, is irreplaceable; it is a feeling I find myself constantly chasing after

The feeling of knowing that I have changed someone’s day for the better, even for a moment, is irreplaceable; it is a feeling I find myself constantly chasing after. Even if it is not a compliment, I find myself searching for ways to make people, even if momentarily, smile.

Giving away gifts has become one of my favorite ways to make people smile. A multitude of my friends live all across the country. Yet, every year, I find myself preparing months in advance for their birthdays. Watching my friends’ excited smiles as they open their long-anticipated presents makes it feel like I am seeing the gift for the first time with them.

Gifts don’t have to be reserved simply for special occasions. At times, it is pleasant to give away something “just because.” In my free time, I have come to enjoy learning unique, diverse ways of creating gifts rather than purchasing them. Knowing the present had been built specifically for them, that it is without equal, makes the surprise all the more personal. Similarly, it allows me to shape their special item into something I know they will hold near and dear to their hearts.

I remember that I had started crocheting with the intent of making plush animals for all my friends. Each animal and color was chosen and crafted with purpose and care. However, being able to personally give them their gift and explain each thought behind the present is an almost euphoric feeling.

In the fleeting moment of happiness, I find myself continually hoping that each kind act will make its way to another—snowballing from person to person. I wish for others to have the courage to do a simple act of compassion whether in the form of another compliment, gifting someone with something small, or even a simple smile at another person. 

 So, in a sea of monotonous homogeneity, placing a smile on a person can make all the difference.