“Smile, even if it’s a sad smile, because sadder than a sad smile is the sadness of not knowing how to smile.”
The first time Christine had smiled at him was when he had sang for her through the mirror.
No one had ever smiled at him, no one.
In a way she had not even truly smiled at him as she had never seen him, only heard him. But she had smiled at his voice and to him that was enough. He was his voice, his voice was his beauty and that was what he wanted to give her.
Oh what he would not do to see her smile time and time again. What he wouldn't give to make her laugh, see her eyes shine happy and bright. He did not know people could look like that, he had rarely seen it.
The people around his cage had gaped, jeered, their eyes filled with horror and disgust. This pattern had continued wherever he went in the world. Oh, he had seen tears a few times, usually when he sang or made music in general. The moment he used his voice or played an instrument people would change; they would cry or their faces were suddenly a little gentler. It was over as soon as the music died, sadly.
Christine didn't smile for a long time once she had met him no matter how hard he tried. It was there again: horror and disgust followed by tears when he sang. Oh, he had thought she knew him after all these months of talking and singing together. He might not have been an angel, but was he not the same person? He didn't understand it, what had he done wrong?
He apologised over and over, fell to her feet and wept. She said she forgave him, but she did not smile.
As days went by he tried to be what she wanted, did all she asked and worked himself beyond exhaustion to please her. After a while it would sometimes be there: the glimpse of a smile. Once he noticed he felt certain she did not fear him and he set her free. She gave him a smile as she left.
Christine smiled at him, truly, smiled at him when she lifted her veil and told him she would be his living wife. After that the smile turned to tears, tears they both shared.
Deep down he knew it could never be, so once again he set her free. The smile she gave him as she left with “the boy” was the last one he expected to see in his earthly life.
But there would be one more smile meant for him. The sad, gentle, smile he saw on her face when Christine sat at his bed and held his hand as he closed his eyes for the very last time.
It was the smile he took with him to eternity.