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     “Buying Smiles”
He liked nothing more
than doing things for her
no matter how small they were
it made him feel
closer to her
and the closer
he was to her
the better he felt.
She allowed him
to preform simple
mundane tasks for her
all of which she could
easily do herself
and for the most part
preferred too,
But he couldn’t see
the obvious.
He liked to buy her gifts
nothing of much consequence
she reluctantly accepted them,
He really enjoyed
trying to find
A special gift
that reflected her unique personality,
He tried to assure her
he didn’t want anything
in return,
He just likes to make her happy,
Which in turn makes him happy.
But are those really
Your true intentions?
Asked his conscience.
Whose sudden appearance
annoyed him
more than it
surprised him,
He wanted to be truthful
with himself,
So he decided to give his conscience
A straight reply,
As he prepared to defend
his actions
of his asking for,
Nothing in return policy,
For gift giving,
his conscience asked,
You don’t buy these gifts
for anyone else that you know,
do you.
He wasn’t sure if his conscience
was asking a question
or making a statement,
so he just threw out
what he considered to be a fact.
Everytime I give her a gift
she would always give me
A smile or a hug of thanks,
That shows she really likes the things
I do for her.
But aren’t you just trying
To buy her attention?
Asked his conscience,
She gets free stuff,
But is it really free?
His conscience,
Looking him in the eye
with its hands on its hips,
What if you offered her $50.00 dollars
for a kiss and she said sure
and kissed you on the lips
then stood there with her hand out
as you counted out to her 50-dollars.
Why don’t you just do that,
Instead of spending the money on a present,
A kiss is better than a smile right?
Maybe for $75.00 you could get
A little tongue too,
said his conscience.
That whole thought is perverted
I would never ask such a thing of her,
He said, pushing back against his conscience.
And if she took your gift
and just turned and walked away
No smile,
No hug,
Not even a word,
would you still get
That happy glowing feeling?
Or would you say,
What a B---h!
I would never call her a b---h,
As he glared back at his conscience
She likes the thoughtfulness
Of my gifts,
If she didn’t she would tell me,
We’re close like that,
Still looking back at his conscience,
But reducing the intensity
of his stare a notch or two.
Are you sure she hasn’t done just that,
Said his conscience,
But maybe just politely,
Your infatuation,
Over shadowing
Her words.
Well she did say,
You didn’t have to do that,
Think a little harder said his conscience
he looks down and pauses
as if he is in deep thought
once I asked her what size
Hoodie she wears,
Small, in case you’re wondering
and she said not to buy her anything,
But her birthday was coming up,
And she just didn’t want me to feel
obligated to have to buy her something,
Looking a bit shaken as he made his reply.
Says his conscience, how do you think
she felt, when you hand her a $50.00 hoodie,
and stand there,
Staring at her, like some dog, waiting for a treat,
she is the one who was,
You had free will,
To buy her a gift,
But she has none,
Common courtesy,
she gives you something back,
a smile,
a hug
a F---ing handshake,
but something.
You are just buying her smiles,
His conscience says in a very loud
and commanding voice,
While shaking its head
and looking away from him,
Ashamed at having to point out
such remedial things,
To a grown man.
That last rant from his conscience
Stunned him,
He started to feel nauseous
Wanting to say something
but unable to formulate
Any words.
His conscience could see
all the pain he was in
it walked over to him
and without saying a word
put its arm around him.
He looked at his conscience
with watery eyes,
I feel so dirty
those smiles and hugs
I thought she freely gave me,
Moments I truly cherished
all seem so tainted now.
Telling her I wanted
nothing in return
while all along
expecting her to
not only give me
something back
but something that’s
very personal.
Don’t be so hard
on yourself
his conscience said
trying as best he could
to comfort him
you just made a mistake
there was no malice involved
just think how much more
it will mean the next time
she looks at you
and gives you an honest smile.
Those words seemed
to cheer him up a tad
he wiped his eyes
with his sleeve
hugged his conscience
and said
His conscience looked back at him
with a feeling of pride
hoping he heeds
the lessons learned today.
Well it looks like
were done here
if it’s ok with you
I’m going to get a little shut eye
I heard you on the phone earlier,
Going out drinking
with the boys tonight
and how did you put it
to your friend
“You’re getting Drunk”
 “Getting Laid”
And going to party
“Like its 1999”
So I figure, I going to have
A busy night ahead of me
I have no idea what that “1999”
reference means
“It better not be drugs”
Says his conscience
looking him sternly
in the eyes
as he starts to fade away.
He has a wisp of a smile
as he is left alone
with his thoughts in a room
that only moments ago
felt cramped and dark
but now he feels the sun
that has always been their
on his right shoulder
he embraces the
comforting warmth of the sun
sitting in a chair facing it
closes his eyes
and in minutes
both he and
his conscience
are asleep…
    Tom Allen…07-06-2017…