LOOKS OF HAPPINESS
By Frannie Gilbertson
Do you ever look at someone and think, “Wow, I am so lucky that I have you”? You catch yourself staring at them, watching the way their lips form into a smile or the way their eyes shine beneath the brightness of the sun. You look at them and you just have to sit and admire their existence because you cannot fathom how someone so beautiful and so unbelievably kind could exist in a world that is often full of ugliness and hate. I do that. All the time, but with one specific person.
Before I get into those gory details, I want to start from the beginning. About two months ago, I was online, minding my own business, looking at and liking various videos when I got an inbox message from someone I didn’t know. I’d never gotten a direct message from a stranger before, and the whole thing kind of freaked me out a bit, but something was also telling me that this stranger was not someone to be afraid of. Of course, I was questioning myself and wondering why in the hell I was responding, but I did. The message was just a thank you for liking a video that said stranger had posted, harmless enough. Later that night, I learned that my new direct message friend was a guy named Josh.
Of course by the time I finished talking to him that evening, it was really late and I was falling asleep. I asked if I could talk to him again tomorrow because, well, I enjoyed talking to him. He seemed nice and harmless, two traits that I have confirmed to be true now. He told me that of course we could and wished me a good night before we signed off and went to bed. The next day I talked to him again, and all that next night, too. That night turned into another day, which turned into another night, and another, and another, and another. Days became weeks, weeks became months, and during those months we got closer and I learned two things: we were completely opposite people, but had a lot of the same interests. He likes cold weather, I like hot weather. He likes math, I think math is the language of the devil. He’s really tall, and I’m really short. He’s soft spoken, and I’m a little on the loud side. But despite our opposites, we have things in common, too. We have the same favorite band, the same nerdy tendencies, we procrastinate like hell, and, my favorite: we’re crazy about each other.
Two months went by of sweet messages, late night phone calls, and math tutoring sessions that usually turned into “you’re so cute” and “I like you” fights. Josh became my new best friend and my new something else, but like all possible new relationships, I had seeds of doubt planted into my mind. I’d find myself sitting behind my phone questioning if what he was saying to me was really true. Did he really like me? Was he talking to more than one girl like this? When was it going to end because surely this was too good to last for very long. Guys like him didn’t exist in real life. They were fairytales. They were characters in the novels I read and wrote about. No man was that good. They never had been before. I kept thinking back to all my past relationships, remembering how badly they’d ended and how hurt they’d left me. I’d been played, used, and lied to before so I knew what it felt like. I knew how pretty a guy could make his words sound because I’d heard them before. I didn’t want that to happen to me again because by now my heart was invested, and if it ended now I was going to be hurt again. Badly.
But that’s the thing about Josh. He stayed. He stayed despite my worries and my fears. He’d talk with me on the phone about it, no matter what it was. No matter what insane thought I had in my head, he had a way of making it disappear. He had a way of making me feel like my insecurities and my concerns were not the ramblings of a crazy girl, but just that of a girl who’d been hurt one too many times and was always going to have the scars to prove it. The evidence was there on the table for us both to see, and he didn’t mind.
As time drew on, we found ourselves talking about meeting. Talking about what we’d do the first time we saw each other in person. Pictures are one thing, but you can’t hug a picture. You can’t kiss a picture. A picture is a picture. It’s a copy, and a copy is nothing compared to the real thing. That’s what we wanted. We wanted the real thing, and that’s what we were determined to get. So, with enough preparation and 11:11 wishes, we got our real thing on September 23, 2017. I got my first real date and it was one of the best days I’d ever had.
He bought me lunch, and we completed our long-awaited dream of walking through Target together. He bought me flowers, a movie I’d been wanting on DVD for a while, and my favorite pastry: cupcakes. He never let my hand go and stole kisses from me. Many kisses that I had no problem stealing back throughout the day. We went to the water gardens and walked around downtown. There were many other things we did, but I want to pause for a moment and refer back to my first paragraph because it was on this date that I had to stop and admire Josh for what was probably too long.
The water gardens in downtown Fort Worth are one of the best places to go to on a date because who doesn’t want to sit and listen to the sound of water fountains for a few hours? It’s calming, watching the water seep out of the stone walls and tumble down into the pools below. There were two groups taking their Quince pictures there and I remember Josh and I comparing the colors and the dresses of the two parties. I preferred the first group because of the pale pink color of the girl’s dress. It was big and looked so wonderful on her. I was watching everyone around us and trying not to blush at the sweet things Josh was telling me. He’d tell me how beautiful I was or how much he liked me. I think my favorite was him poking my cheek and asking if I was real and if we were really together. I’d laugh and he continue to stare at me like I was some type of artwork that rivaled something of Claude Monet’s.
I know that I am no masterpiece. My face is not blemish-free, my thighs are full of stretchmarks, and sometimes I let anxiety and depression overrule logic. I’ve done things I am not proud of, and I let my head get the best of me. I can be a conceited brat, and I can be an insecure baby. I’m not perfect, not even close, but none of that matters to him. It doesn’t matter because he sees the good in me. He sees the things I can’t see and probably never will. I know this not because he’s told me so many times, but because it was reflected in his eyes that day. I saw the admiration glowing within the crystal blue irises. I saw the care brightly shinning like the gleam of the sun sitting on the Caribbean Sea. He looked at me like Jay Gatsby looked at Daisy Buchanan. Like I was the only girl that mattered in that moment because to him, I was. I could feel it and that feeling is one that I will always remember.
I looked back at him the same way, of course, but my expressions aren’t in my eyes. They are in my lips. My words are what I use to express my feelings towards him, but Josh? Josh uses his eyes. I can always see his emotions in his eyes. They change color, you know. They go from blue, to green, to gray, to silver. They are little tiny windows into a heart that I know is big enough for the both of us. I think I have a pretty good heart too, but not like his. His is much more lovely.
Josh is who I find myself shaking my head to and laughing at for no apparent reason because he just makes me so incredibly happy. I’m always happy when I talk to him. I make him happy, too. I know because I saw it at the Fort Worth water gardens. There are just some people in this world who make you so happy and you have no real explanation as to why. They just do. You find yourself smiling for no reason and it doesn’t matter because you know you’re lucky. You’re lucky to find someone that brings you that much joy. I know I am.
About the Author:
Frannie Gilbertson is an aspiring author who enjoys writing fiction and poetry with an occasional dabble in non-fiction such as “Looks of Happiness”. Her love for writing began at a young age, but never fully blossomed until high school when she completed her first full-length novel as a freshman.