Her name is Ann, and she’s 4. This girl is little, amiable and not very smart, but her behavior already resembles that of some adult women. She’s always active. She’s always playful. She always smiles.

That’s the way other people see her. But once the door of her room closes and she is alone or with her close people, her smile gently disappears and she continues to busy herself with something. Nothing’s happened, everything is okay. It’ll take her 0.5 seconds to smile from ear to ear when there appear other people on the horizon.

She must shine. She’s obliged to. She must shine in such a way that none in the room, yard, or concert hall can shine like her.

Being a very sensitive little girl, I was too frightened with such tenacious, illogical, sharp behavior of my little “friend” and estranged myself from her, feeling a sort of release. She didn’t take much notice of that loss of a friend: with every passing day, with proud gait and sense of purpose she went to conquer new horizons — to get new friends. The more friends she had, the better she felt. I knew it for sure, I felt it: that unusual tranquility in her look, in her behavior. And for a while, she ceased to wear her mask — to fake that immense happiness.

When I was 8, we accidentally met again. We calmly sat in a swing and talked, not about trifles but about something serious. It was she who set the tone, I merely listened to her and observed her look and reactions, and it was full of them. In the end, I saw the disappointment in her eyes, and our communication finally ceased.

I was 21. I sat in a café and celebrated my grandma’s birthday with my family. Suddenly I heard Arab music playing loudly, and, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I understood it was certainly her. She’d been practicing Arab dancing, for quite long and successfully. The beautiful girl with the expansive smile and amazing charisma captured the hearts of audiences at the office parties and feasts. And the confirmation of her happiness was reflected in the eyes of people around — they saw it in her, they believed it.

And if so many people see it, isn’t it true?

In 7 minutes the music abruptly died away, and the tired body in golden clothes left the VIP-hall. Nobody met her, nor did she look for anyone. Staring at the floor and feeling an utter annoyance, she rushed out of the café at lightning speed. I didn’t manage to face her and say hello. As at 8, I wasn’t anxious to, though.

She remains such to this very day. Now she’s 25, she’s married and has a little daughter, if I’m not mistaken. She slowly and reluctantly drags the baby carriage down from the third floor, but as soon as the door to the street opens, she represents the one who has everything. Her gait and smile a bit faded over the years, but not too much. She keeps on faking a girl full of happiness.

It is such girls who attract most attention and love. And the feeling of love has always been her Achilles’ heel: she persistently believed that it could be gained only from another person.

Nobody knows how faking happiness became a part of her life and who taught her it. It’s only she who can remember the primary source and realize it, intuitively getting knowledge of true love — love for oneself, with which love for anything else begins.

I really hope I won’t ever meet a girl/woman like her. It disarms me. Kills me. Because in this girl, in her behavior, I see partly myself. And it’s sheer madness: to fake happiness for getting it in response.

Thank you for reading one of my stories. It means a lot to me.

26 yo with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder): a nice person with warm heart and beautiful-sometimes-crystal-clear mind.
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26 yo with ASD (autistic spectrum disorder): a nice person with warm heart and beautiful-sometimes-crystal-clear mind.

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