Share one of your life's stories:

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Four words that I’ll remember for the rest of my life: “You should smile more.”

So I was partaking in this summer music camp last year. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from it. Yet. there’s one thing that always stands out.

Me and my crew were eating lunch. However, in the middle of lunch, I had to use the restroom. I kind of decided to not tell them because I thought that they would stay. So I went, and I came back, and they weren’t there. I honestly wasn’t down about it. After all, being with people for too long isn’t fun. So I went to the SDSU choir room to play some piano. I was improvising and whatever have you. Then a girl walks in, and she asks if she was allowed in the room. I told her that she was, considering that I have yet to get in trouble. She then sat down in one of the chairs, and she brought out a tablet along with a supplementary keyboard. Realizing that she may be working, I gave her the common courtesy by sitting in another chair and browsing through my phone instead of making noise. During this time, I observed two things. One, she looked attractive. Two, she had a SUMMA backpack. This meant that maybe I could get to know her a little bit and not worry about anything because she’s obviously old enough for me. During the time in the choir room, we did not talk. However, when we were going to get the SDSMI group photo taken, I was able to talk to her because we were about the same height.

So I get in line, and she happens to be right in front of me. I notice her drawing on what seemed to be a large sketch pad. I immediately thought of my brother because at that time, he was into drawing stuff for his storyboard club. I thought that maybe I would be able to start a conversation with this girl by talking to her about her drawings. That, however, was not the case. Instead, we subtly exchanged comments about stupid things people were doing. Then it became slightly less subtle. Then we started talking about whatever. Then we took a slight pause before she asked me
“So…your name is Simon.” Thinking that she was talking to herself or someone else, I ignored her. Then she turned her head and asked me “Is it?” While chuckling, I told her, “My name is Lewis. What’s yours?” The thing though was that both of us could have looked at each other’s name tags. Regardless, she told me.

Her name was Jeanette, but I actually didn’t comprehend what she said at the time because I was in the heat of the moment. Right afterwards, she tells me, “That was really awkward.” Although I thought, “Oh no. I’m losing my chance with this girl,” I thought that she would have kept those feelings to herself (that’s what I would have done if I were her). Nonetheless, we continue the conversation. She asks me what instrument I play. I tell her tuba, but she thought that I was one to play the clarinet. In the midst of the conversation, two eighth graders start blurting stupid stuff. She tells me that she hates “having stupid friends.” Turns out I had the same problem…in middle school. So I’m slightly skeptical at this point. However, I keep in mind that she had a SUMMA backpack, so I had to have been in the clear. She then tells me that she has “nothing to talk about.” I thought, “Oh…this is not dying like this.” So we conversed some more. Then I thought that I should at least play it safe if she were significantly younger than me. I didn’t want to ask “How old are you?” because that would have immediately given me a suspicious vibe. So I, instead, asked her what high school she was going to. She responded, “Oh. I’m just going into highschool.” I immediately shut down.

Worse thing was that she asked me about myself. I responded, “I’m a senior.” even though the initial question was where we were going to high school. Then she said, “Thought so.” We did not talk for the rest of the time that the group photo was taken. I was so mad at myself. I thought I was a bad person. I thought that I would never be able to be accepted because I would date younger women in the future. The funny thing is she knew that I was a significant amount older than her, meaning that she may have been annoyed by me.

So that was pictures. I thought that I was going to tell this story to Greg, Chevy, Rich, and the rest of the crew. But I did not want them to think negatively of me because I essentially flirted with a middle schooler. Then we went to an assembly where we met the legendary trumpet player: Jens Lindemann. We liked his playing and all. Then for one of his pieces, he decided to serenade me as a theatrical supplement for everyone to enjoy. After the assembly, the same girl tapped my shoulder, and told me “good job” because I played along with his seduction. She high-fived me. In the midst of high-fiving me, she held my hand. To be specific, her fingers met my knuckles. Though reluctant, I was about to relax my fingers onto her hand. As soon as I was going to completely grasp her hand, she pulled away. Then she walked away, while looking back at me and slightly chuckling. I thought that she was going to learn to flirt with seniors right then. I knew that she liked me, but I did not think of it as a pleasant thing; I went up to my dorm room knowing this was going to be interesting for the rest of the time I would be at SDSMI.

Next morning arrives, and I have the same awful dorm food that I always had. I tell one of the supervisors that I lost my key. Later that day, I also lost my key card. Back to the story. After performing our chamber ensembles, the whole SDSMI crowd went bowling. After bowling a game, I decided to just walk around for a bit. Towards the end of the night, Jeanette came up to me and we talked for about ten seconds. Then she went back with her group. As we were heading back, I was talking with Greg and the first chair tuba of the highest ensemble the camp hosted (I was second to him): Cliff. We were talking about which colleges to apply to and audition for. Then I realized that I wanted to pay a $25 dollar fine to pay off the lost key, so I stopped walking in the midst of the conversation. However, the rest of the crowd was ramming through. One of those people happened to be Jeannette. As she was passing by, she blurted at me “Why do you have such a straight face? You look like you’re going to kill someone.” I naturally thought, “She’s a freshman. I shouldn’t listen to her.” Then, with a much sweeter tone, she essentially said, “But not when you smile… you look nice when you smile.” Turning away and towards me constantly, she stopped and told me the four words I may remember for the rest of my life: “You should smile more.”

I was rather intrigued by her words at first. I thought that my face looked completely fine. Not worrying about the key, I ran up to my dorm and asked my roommate, Tristan, to see if he, too, thought that my face made me look like a murderer. He said that it did, and even when I made my face straight again after smiling, he told me that it looked “pretty intimidating.” However, I knew that there was nothing “wrong” with my face. I honestly can’t help it. I retrieved my key card that night, and I spent the rest of it with my friends. Next morning, I found my key (not that it relates to the story).

Ten months later, I can say that her words have helped me enjoy life a little more. Not only was I more peaceable to others, but I have become more happy with myself every time I think of her advice and smile every night. The simple act of smiling now gives me a tingling, fleshy sensation. I never thought that a freshman girl would teach me more than what either of my two biggest highs school crushes have taught me. Having said that, everyone here should, well, “smile more.”

Thank you for reading this far. Hope you enjoyed.

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