A blog post not like the others.
Upon entering college, I joined a group of students from all over campus in sharing our common hobby: playing cards; quatorze, likha, trixx; most games except for gambling (Except for a few individuals)were always played in the upper and lower campus of AUB. You could join in a game during your break by replacing a player that had a class to attend without necessarily knowing your opponents.
This is how I met him, tall skinny handsome guy, quirky glasses, unshaved beard and a smile that enlightened the whole area. R.N joined the table where I was playing.
Me, being a naturally -a bit over the top- curious human being, felt this urge to know his story and his secret to such happiness.
I have to mention I met him during some dark times of my life, where ghosts and skeletons were my everyday companion. So knowing his secret became a must for me.
I slowly became friends with him, chatting over card games and sharing a cigarette during our breaks, taking my time to get to know him, learning his story by bits and pieces before later fitting them into the puzzle of his life.
It took me a full year, if not a bit more to compete this puzzle; and when I did; the painting I had drawn wasn’t what I had expected at all. This man standing in front of me had been through hell and back so many times dark spots were filling the image.
I remember at that point wondering: how could such a man have the energy to smile so much, on a daily basis?
R. Had been through two near death accidents, each causing a head concussion that pulled him between weeks to months in a coma. He had at some point in his life drowned in gambling before finding the strength to swim back to the surface and fight his addictions. He had impaired vision in one eye, his nerves kept ticking, and even had ADD (attention deficit disorder). He was the most joyful, hopeful, optimistic person I have ever met.
Always a smile on his face, whether it be directed to strangers or friends, always a funny comment up his sleeve with (probably) an action or gesture to turn your frown into a full on smile.
R.N left us after Christmas Eve 2011, and with his departure left a gaping hole in my life, as well as his family and all those that admired him for being him.
The year 2013 is almost over, and I must say he taught me well, for the first time of my life I will have kept my new year’s resolution; smile at least once a day, even if you have no reason to or feel like weeping, for you never know who might see you smile, and get contaminated by it. His lesson to me was that all emotions are contagious, if you generate one in public, soon you might notice that people around you will have a smile on their faces too.
I wrote this post to remind myself, as well as those who cared and/or still care for R. To smile. Even superheroes like him have so many reasons to weep, but all the smiling kept them going on and surviving where others would have given up.