A Smile That Lights the World . . .

Andrea, when I first met her, with that smile...

I jokingly posted a comment last week on one of my social media pages after getting a “news alert” from my CNN feed.  The alert, as they so inappropriately called it, said “Mila Kunis says “guys just don’t ask me out!””  Bear in mind, this had little or nothing to do with Mila Kunis.  I don’t know her, I have never spoken with her (surprise, surprise, right?) and I’m absolutely certain she’s probably a nice person.  (If not, how would I know, not like I travel in those circles)  But the alert came down like a piece of breaking news, right in the middle of another group of bombings in Syria along with elections and other things.  Yet somehow, I guess, Mila Kunis seemed more important to the computer sending out the alerts to my computer.

So I made a comment: “In a CNN breaking news alert to my computer (guess the bombings in Syria are over) Mila Kunis says guys don’t ask her out.  Hmmm . . . well, if I get nominated for a local Emmy, I might need a date…”

It was a joke.  Seriously, a joke.  I’m not a returning serviceman.  I am not going to the Navy or Marine Corps ball.  But the comment sparked conversations.  It got some of the old “when are you going to start dating again?” comments coming out of the woodwork.  The problem with those questions is that they create an expectation that I’m looking to jump into that pool again.  What they don’t take into consideration is that I haven’t yet made it a full year without my wife.  I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to go through a divorce, or to hate the person you lived with for all those years.  I didn’t go through that.  I try to speak with her but there’s no response, which makes it very hard.  I talk, but I have no idea if she’s listening or if she’s anywhere near where she can hear me.

But I’m going to pass along to you what I told someone the other day when this whole discussion came up again.  It’s something I’ve passed on to my daughters and sons as well.

I didn’t seek out Andrea.  Not at all.  I’ve posted here before, she was moving away when we first started dating anyway.  The friendship, the love, all that hit me like I’d walked into the middle of a highway unawares and was slammed by a Mack truck.  That’s how it happened.  She didn’t fit the profile of the women I’d normally dated.  She was from a different part of the country, she was – well let’s face it, she was absolutely gorgeous.  She was so far out of my league I hadn’t even made it to the dugout to get benched.

When I met Andrea I was so disappointed by dating, so shy, so angry at the world that I had given up, I truly had.  There was no person that was for me.  One girl I liked started dating someone else and fell in love – and worse yet, I liked the guy so I couldn’t be really angry at her.  Others just didn’t mesh with me. And when I first saw Andrea, having never talked with her, never looked her in the eye, simply saw her being walked around the newsroom as a new intern, I thought, and it’s a horrible thing to say, but I truly thought “oh, there’s another blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl who wants to be on TV and full of herself.”  I was just so used to going out with and meeting those people that I couldn’t bring myself to think she was any different.

But I can tell you the one thing that got me, the one thing that changed all that.  When I started working with her, shooting with her, and we started talking and she smiled.  I mean, truly, happy, smiled.  When Andrea smiled she smiled with her whole face, the emotion welling up on the inside and sparkling through her.  I know you will think that’s silly, a comment obvious to her husband, but it’s true.  I haven’t seen or met many others like that.  When Andrea smiled she lit up the world and everything seemed a little brighter for it.

So when I have the conversations with people who try to push me to date or go out or what have you I point to that smile.  How do you go out when that’s the benchmark you had before?  I mean, sometimes it was a curse.  Andrea could smile at me and I’d rob a bank if she’d asked me to, it was hypnotic to me.  Few women before, and nobody since has shown me the kind of passion in a single movement of the lips and eyes like hers.  When Andrea was happy, and I mean really, truly, happy, her eyes sparkled.

Now, to be fair, I’ve met other women who smile and their face has some of that spark.  But it’s more than just the myriad of muscles and teeth.  It’s not the crinkle of the nose or the slight curl upward of the lips.  It’s just as much about what goes on in the person when they have that smile.  Andrea could have used that smile to make me miserable.  She could have strongarmed me with that hypnotic glare but she didn’t, and that’s probably why we worked so well.  If she’d tried to make things happen by faking that emotion I probably wouldn’t have fallen so hard so fast.

When Andrea fell into a depression right after moving back to California, the sparkle diminished.  She couldn’t bring it back.  It wasn’t until the last year or so I started seeing it again.  She giggled like before.  She got the silly, nervous laugh back, and even though she had a paralysis on part of her mouth, her eyes and her face . . . they sparkled.  She was back, just for awhile, and it made things brilliant.

Tonight my daughter and I were talking about an actress I’d seen was marrying a guy from one of her favorite bands.  (No, not Mila Kunis, though I don’t know, maybe she smiles like that.  I haven’t met her) I can’t give you her name, even, but I’d seen her before.  My daughter noticed herself.  When the woman smiled her face lit up, small dimples on either side of her cheeks.  Now, Andrea had no dimples, but the smile . . . it was magical.  I made the comment to her that her smile reminded me of her Mom.  The eyes were sparkling, the smile just brilliant enough and she emoted happiness.

I told my daughter that it was that smile – the look, the love and the emotion behind it that cause that smile that could light up the world, that made me warm just seeing it.  It’s not just the smile, it’s what the smile brings with it.  I told her, some guys look at legs, others hair, or feet . . . boobs or behinds . . . but not me.  (OK, on Andrea, those things were amazing, too, but stick with me, perverts!)  For me it was that smile.  When you are bolstered by that for so long, how can anyone else compare?  How can you date someone without knowing if their smile will light up the room?  When you’ve lost the smile that lit up the world?

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