Saturday, 26 March 2011

About a smile

It happened during 2008 Christmas holiday.
Back in Italy for the usual two weeks break, I agreed with Francesca to go to Brescia for an exhibition: Linea d'Ombra used to organize spectacular exhibitions there, in the former monastery of Santa Giulia (pity the quality of their exhibitions has dropped, but that's another story).

We had our small ritual: meeting up in the morning, get the ticket at Porta Nuova Station, get some small snack and water for the travel, have a quick lunch once in Brescia, take our time to view the whole exhibition and have a tea with cake while waiting for the train back home.

That year, on the train to Brescia we met a guy from Japan: his name's Kyosuke, he was on holiday in Italy and was going from Milan to Venice. He told us he worked in the postal service in Japan and we chatted till we arrived in Brescia. Even thought his English was a bit shaky, we managed to understand each other, pointed out some stuff to see and do in Venice and had some laugh.
Before getting off the train, he asked to take a picture with us, a picture that he later sent me.

I haven't heard him for a long time, till this week. He sent me an e-mail, to tell me about how he was doing. His English is still a bit shaky, but there's very little room for interpretation when somebody tell you that his home is down. He had a request: a smile. He wanted me to smile, take a picture of my smile and send it to him.

It would be much easier to ask for money to go to charity, as it just involves the bank account. But a smile! A smile is so much tougher. I know I'm much better off, when compared to people that lost everything and everybody that mattered to them. But as every other human being, I live my small life in my small universe, and sometimes it seems that my problems and aches are bigger than they could actually be. Smiling, finding a reason for it and doing it wholeheartedly is not easy for me right now.

I don't want to fake a smile just for the sake of a photo, but since receiving Kyosuke's mail, I've been trying my best to find the willingness and strenght within me to truly smile.
I'll hopefully managed to capture that smile in a photo for Kyosuke. Until then I will keep going back to another photo, this one:

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