It doesn't work.

I've done it too many times to count. Usually, I break the silence with, "Hey Shannon", or "Hi Valerie". After this, i've found, there are three possible outcomes.

1: “Hi Phil.” Either genuine, or out of guilt, it always has hidden meaning behind it. Listen carefully to the tone she uses. Either she means to give the idea that “There’s something I want to say, but you have to get me to say it,” or “Why do you keep talking to me?”

2: She smiles back. Again, this could mean two things, “Why don’t you say something to me, so we can break the ice?” or “Who are you?” and “Why do you keep smiling at me?”

3: She doesn’t respond. Whether this is intentional, or not, it is the most demoralizing of the three outcomes. I try my best to determine which of the two it is, but doubt always gets the best of me. Try to get her attention, only a real bitch won’t respond out of guilt. If she doesn’t, imagine a red X stamped on her forehead, and move on. There is always someone better. If she does respond, see outcomes 1 or 2 accordingly.
"Originally I had this strategy....just to smile at pretty girls."

Belinda laughs and throws her hair back over her shoulder as I tell her this. I smile at her, she smiles back.

"So has it worked?" she asks with the intent to listen to whatever my response might be.

"I don't know, you tell me." My voice cracks at the end due to nervousness. I smile again.

"I suppose you could say it's successful then." She leans back in the passenger seat of my car and I put the car in drive.

Ξ   Ξ   Ξ   previously   Ξ   Ξ   Ξ

Ophelia sits across from me, drinking coffee and staring out the window.

"Whatcha thinking?"

"Oh," she answers, surprised I asked, "nothing..." Her words trail off at the end like there is something wrong but I cannot put my finger on what it might be.

She goes back to staring out the window, and her body language tells me I am not supposed to bother her right now. I am picking up signals that tell me I am not supposed to care, I am not supposed to probe her for answers.

She looks up at me and I smile. Her eyes dart down to her coffee, which oddly enough matches the color of her eyes. Ophelia looks around the table for anything to hold to distract her hands-- a fork, a spoon, a napkin. There is nothing.

As I grab her hand and hold it in mine she looks at me again. I smile. She blushes and smiles back.

Ξ   Ξ   Ξ   before   Ξ   Ξ   Ξ

Caitlyn is lost in a sea of people, trying to find her way to her new office. This is not her first day on the job, just her first day in this building. She recently tranfered from the sales department to customer relations.

I make first contact with her in the elevator, this is when she tells me she has no idea where she's going. She asks me what floor she is supposed to be going to.

"Seventh," I say while hitting the button for her. I give her instructions on where her supervisor can be found once she gets there.

"Thanks," slightly embarrassed, she wiggles and squeezes her way out of the crowded elevator. I smile. She smiles.

She doesn't know it yet, but I do. Her desk will be directly across from mine. She is led to her desk by the supervisor and finds me waiting at my desk. She smiles once again.

"It's good to see you again, I didn't catch your name earlier..."

"Layton" I smile again. "Look if you need any help around here, feel free to ask me."

"This is going to be the begining of a beautiful friendship, I can feel it."

Ξ   Ξ   Ξ   before   Ξ   Ξ   Ξ

Caroline waits in the ticket line for the subway. She is fishing in her pockets and purse for change.

I walk up, impatient with her lack of funds and ask her how much she needs.

"Oh just a quarter, I'm sure I have it in here somewhere."

"No problem," I place a quarter of my own in her hand.

"No really, I'm sure I have it."

"Don't worry about it, please, take it."

"Well, thanks." She smiles at me.

I stand still, motionless for just a moment, long enough for her to realize that I am standing stagnant.

She smiles again. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah," and I smile. She gets on the train and waves goodbye to me, still smiling.

I stand there thinking about how her smile really moved me. It was so simple, but so meaningful to me. I think, "I should do that. I should smile at people. I should smile at pretty girls."

Ξ   Ξ   Ξ   currently   Ξ   Ξ   Ξ

Belinda laughes and her hair flows with the wind rushing past the open window.

I find her hand in my hand. I smile.

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