SMILE

My new man, he is a treasure.  A lot of men wouldn’t want someone with my history.  With such a weight of sadness.  Because I have a lot of bad memories, you see.  My ex, he used to beat me up.  Many times.  Not just once.  Many times.  You see my missing teeth?

My ex knocked them out, yeah, he did.  Because he started punching me in the face, at the end.  He choked me until I passed out.  He kicked me in the stomach.  That’s when I lost the baby.  That’s when I finally left, even though he said it would be the last thing I ever did.  I got to the point where I thought, okay, go ahead and kill me then.  This is hell already.  What could be worse?  I have nothing to live for.  I am done here.

But God had a plan for me to stay alive.  He guided me to this state, far from my ex.  He put it into my cousin’s heart to let me stay with her while I found a job in housekeeping.  And guess who He placed as our next-door-neighbor in our apartment?  My new man.  Yes, him.  God is great.  It took a long time, but what is time to God?  It is a split second for Him, ten years of my life.

So I moved out of state to my cousin’s and I started working right away.  And when I would come home and take my cousin’s kids out to play, he would be at the playground with his nephews.  Because even though he was over 40, he had never married, and never had kids.  Once I got to know him, he told me that he came here to work and help his siblings and parents, and by the time he was done with that, he thought he was too old to start his own family.  You see, he is the oldest, and they say the first-born is the third parent.  He figured God just wanted him to be a good brother, son and uncle, but never a father.  He had given up on having his own family to love.

But now he says God put me in his path, and I feel the same way.  Now I am giving him his first baby, and he is making me smile for the first time in years.  He told me, I love to see you smile.  And I told him, I don’t like to smile because I am ashamed of my missing teeth.  And he said, please, don’t feel that way.  You could not be more beautiful to me if you had huge white teeth, bigger than a beaver’s.  Because you smile with your eyes, and your heart.   Who knew that a man could say such kind things?

But, he told me, you know I work in construction, and I get decent pay.  So I am going to save up and buy you front teeth.  We can afford it.  You will never be more beautiful to me, he said.  But I don’t want you to have that reminder.  I want you to be able to smile freely.  So I am going to hand you some money every two weeks, and you put it aside, and we are going to buy you some teeth.  Because you deserve it, he said.

Do you see?  Do you see why I love him?  God put him in my path.  We have eight hundred dollars saved up so far.  I told him, we don’t have to spend it on my teeth.  Let’s use it for the baby.  I can just smile with my mouth closed.  I am used to it now.  But he said no, I want to see you grinning like a beaver with a mouth full of teeth.  Because you are going to have a lot to smile about.  You see?