Hiding behind a Smile

Hiding behind a Smile

A Story by Clifford

Leaning against the counter, I watch her.
She sits on the opposite side of the room. Just a minute ago, she came in, ordered a black coffee and a muffin, and took her spot near the bookshelf. Just as she's done every day for the past six months.
Long caramel-colored hair cascades over her shoulders. Her skin is pale and flawless. Her face is graceful yet strong. Over time, I've come to memorize her every feature. Not because I'm in love with her, but because she has an air about her that demands attention. Her name is Laura. Everyone knows it, but no one is sure how we know; in all this time, not a soul in that cafe can ever remember her sharing her name.
She always has a smile on her face. The atmosphere in this dusty cafe lights up when she enters the room. She knows all of us employees by name, and she is no stranger to striking up conversations with total strangers. After she leaves, the lively chatter and laughter turns into near total silence.
But underneath the happy exterior, she knows terrible pain. Her every waking moment is spent either grieving or suppressing her darker emotions. She lies awake at night, her tortured past haunting her. She is simply hiding behind a smile. I'm familiar with the look those type of people have.
I should know; I see it every time I look in a mirror.

© 2017 Clifford



Author's Note

Clifford
This is the second story in which Laura has appeared. I never had plans to feature a recurring character, but her first story ("A Night She Couldn't Forget") has sparked ideas in my head.

For the third installment:
http://www.writerscafe.org/writing/CliffordFaust/1939525/

I encourage and welcome reviews of all kinds. I would love to know what you think of the story, as well as any suggestions you have.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

I haven't been on this website consistently in recent months & I hardly ever see you when I'm online here. But when I DO see you here, I will always click on one of your stories in my newsfeed, becuz you're a favorite of mine.

I like all your ideas here. I love the way you put this little vignette together with a substantial plot for such a wink of a piece . . . it has a twist & a lesson . . . pretty complete & compelling for this length! I find few will read the longer stories, so I like trying to see how we can craft the shorter stories like this for the ones with no attention span! *wink! wink!*

Now, as for the construction . . . this is fairly much "TELL" instead of "SHOW" . . . I think it works fine for your purpose (showing us how the narrator views this café customer), but I also feel it could be punctuated with more small bits of showing (which is well done here: "long hair cascades" . . . this is stated as if the reader is actually seeing it, rather than being one-step removed & having the narrator tell us about it).

Also, I can't help but pick on phrases like this: "the very picture of happiness" becuz it's just a platitude, rather than an actual statement of detailed observation to enhance the sensory experience of knowing this person. SHOW ME that picture of happiness!

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Clifford

5 Months Ago

You flatter me with the start of your review. I am also trying to write more short short stories for.. read more



Reviews

I haven't been on this website consistently in recent months & I hardly ever see you when I'm online here. But when I DO see you here, I will always click on one of your stories in my newsfeed, becuz you're a favorite of mine.

I like all your ideas here. I love the way you put this little vignette together with a substantial plot for such a wink of a piece . . . it has a twist & a lesson . . . pretty complete & compelling for this length! I find few will read the longer stories, so I like trying to see how we can craft the shorter stories like this for the ones with no attention span! *wink! wink!*

Now, as for the construction . . . this is fairly much "TELL" instead of "SHOW" . . . I think it works fine for your purpose (showing us how the narrator views this café customer), but I also feel it could be punctuated with more small bits of showing (which is well done here: "long hair cascades" . . . this is stated as if the reader is actually seeing it, rather than being one-step removed & having the narrator tell us about it).

Also, I can't help but pick on phrases like this: "the very picture of happiness" becuz it's just a platitude, rather than an actual statement of detailed observation to enhance the sensory experience of knowing this person. SHOW ME that picture of happiness!

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Clifford

5 Months Ago

You flatter me with the start of your review. I am also trying to write more short short stories for.. read more
A simple story with a subtle ending. This has all the qualities that a good short story should have. The anticipation and expectations suddenly evaporate into an unexpected ending, leaving the reader to feel "Now why didn't I think of that".

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Clifford

5 Months Ago

Thank you very much, Norman.
I love this. I have Laura stories too. Which makes it feel extra special because I feel like your Laura has a similar character to my Laura. I love short stories especially when they are well written like this and leave the reader with so much to think about and ponder over. You leave me with a feeling. I dont know how to describe it, but it's a good thing and it makes me hope that there's going to be more Laura stories in the near future! Well done Clifford. Thanks for sharing. :)

ps. I read your other Laura story and it was great but kinda graphic, scary and sad. Which in turn made me sad. But I will say, it was (as usual), very well written.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Clifford

5 Months Ago

Neat! I'll have to find some of your Laura stories. I'm glad this story resonates with you. And it's.. read more
More vignettes about Laura. I hope you begin the tie them together. Your characterization of her is very strong.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Clifford

5 Months Ago

I'm glad you think her characterization is strong. This story would fall flat if it wasn't. Yes, I v.. read more

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

190 Views
4 Reviews
Rating
Added on June 26, 2017
Last Updated on November 10, 2017

Author

Clifford
Clifford

MN



About
Welcome to my page. Feel free to message me about absolutely anything or ask me to read something of yours. I love talking to people, and I hope we can be friends. If you want to send me a frie.. more..

Writing
Homunculus Homunculus

A Story by Clifford


Mary Sue Mary Sue

A Story by Clifford