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A Lesson in Love

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Lesson 1: Smiling

The Golem had what you would call a mouth, but it did not move. It opened to drink water but had no tongue or lips to make speech with. He was not exactly sure how he spoke, but what meant to communicate was heard by others so that’s all that mattered.

Other species had mouths of course, and, being observant, he watched what they did with them. Beaks moved differently than mouths with lips and teeth. Some mouths had no teeth, others lots of sharp ones. Some tongues were very long and forked, others short and whole. One thing that all mouths did was open slightly, lips curled to show teeth, typically accompanied by squinting or closed eyes. They did this when their wearers were happy or trying to be pleasant.

Somali did this a lot. Every time she saw something pretty, or ate something tasty, she showed her teeth and closed her eyes. The Golem wasn’t sure why, but he liked that look and was pleased that it happened so often.

“Dad!” Somali said, running towards a multi-colored bird resting on a tree branch. “Look! It’s so pretty!”

“Indeed, its colors are optimal for mating and indicate it is very healthy,” the Golem replied.

Somali narrowed her eyes a bit. “You talk weird, Dad. Somali just meant that Somali likes looking at it. The colors are so bright!”

“Perhaps, but I was not disagreeing with you. It is very pleasing to look at.”

Somali showed her teeth again, looking at the bird more closely.

“What is that you keep doing with your mouth?” the Golem finally asked.

“What, this?” Somali closed her eyes and spread her lips wider. “It’s called a smile, Somali has heard. Somali does it when Somali is happy!” Her lips returned to normal and her eyes watered. “Do you not like it, Dad?”

“Not at all. It is pleasing to see you...smile so often.” The Golem liked the word.

Somali giggled. “Dad likes smiling! Dad likes Somali smiling!” She spun around, smiling very brightly.

After that the Golem paid closer attention to when Somali smiled. He reaffirmed that it happened quite often, but started noticing that she did it as a result of him the most. It pleased him quite a bit.