The tines are locked and it has been shut and even if it could be pried open, nothing said would be of any value. It has come and it is here, and with a deft hand the swollen black cloud will sidle in front of the sun and all smiles will turn to thin zippered lines.
"No one comes to visit me," she mumbles in a garbled mess when for a moment she can breathe, and I can tell all of it tastes foreign on her tongue even though she says it all the time. All of the words are agonized, but I stare blankly forward and pretend not to notice her messy mantra and keep my own smile plastered into place; held up with safety pins and practice. Tick of my fingertips on the desktop, too much excess movement!- the smile falls halfway as one pin comes unhooked and the permanent frown droops down and the slanted gash that is my mouth looks as if I've suffered a stroke.
I panic for only a moment and then glance left and right. No one notices.. it seems strange to me. I giggle and giggle in my head and look round quick just to make sure no one saw, and I scurry off to fix what broke. I've always been an opportunist, and I hurry to lodge the pin back into place in the flesh of my cheek, bent in front of a mirror that follows me around but somehow keeps me desperately curious as to what I look like. Soft smile, tilted corners and full lips, all righted and plump and warm and I put strange paint on my cheeks to hide the pins and bloody marks. I return to my post.
"No one comes to visit me," she says again, a voice in the background. I hear it and flinch, but this time I am smart. I do not tap my fingers on the desk; I stare straight forward and am careful not to shake my head or move at all. I feel the pins tug as my lips try so hard to attend to the agonized moan that's built in my chest. My handiwork holds out though. I feel the moment pass and everything goes blank like it often does and my eyes glaze over and I stare at what I am sure is something. Or maybe nothing. Something? Fingertips flutter, up to the mouth; run a quick scan over cheeks. Is it there? I check one more time, verifying. There? Yes, yes of course, I outsmarted them all: