The photo

Everyone in Nhim’s group has a photo of themselves on doors of their closet. Only Nhim and Hermela’s doors stayed empty. Both were absent the day the photographer came.

But last week, after hanging up her backpack, I realized there was a photo on the door. In the photo, Nhim was keeping a ‘Mona Lisa’ style smile, the smile you can see it’s there but you almost cannot spot it.

On Hermelar’s place was also a photo. Hermela didn’t smile. She keeps a tense, serious look as usual.

I told Nhim: I see that there’s a photo on your place.

Nhim was proud. She said Idar took picture of them.

– Look, Nhim said, I smiled.

Everyone smiled in their photoes. Celina smiled showing her teeth, Christopher smiles, Maya smiled, even the smallest Selma smiled. Everyone looked relaxed.

– Only Hermela didn’t smile, Nhim continued, Esben said: Smile, Hermela. Smile. But Hermela didn’t smile.

I said: If Hermela didn’t want to smile, so she doesn’t need to. Is she still a good friend of yours?

Nhim noded.

– Then it’s fine to not smile.

I continued: Your dad said there’re a lot of people at work who smile all the time so that others will like them, but they do no work. So is it better to smile or to do work?

Nhim thinks a moment then she said: To smile and to be good have nothing related.

I hold her hand.

Hermela didn’t smile. It’s still a nice photo. Because it’s about Hermela.

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