During lunch today I walked over to the mall and had some generic asian stir-fry stuff. I took my tray into the eating area and claimed a table. At the table across from me is a young woman, probably twenty-something, looking dejected and miserable and a little hostile. From what I can see, she's fairly well-dressed in a semi-professional sort of way. Certainly not jeans/t-shirt casual. She's a little chubby, with a mottled complexion. Her hair looks unkempt, and alarmingly unwashed, which is totally at odds with her manner of dress. Her whole demeanor radiates unhappiness.
All of this gets me wondering all kinds of things, like why she's so unhappy and angry looking. Is she always like this, or just having a bad day? I don't like to make assumptions about people. But I can't help thinking that the hostile look on her face is something she wears a lot. She reminds me of a kid I went to school with, whose clothing was always threadbare and unwashed, and inevitably was treated rather cruelly by the other kids. Is this her story? Is she accustomed to ridicule, and as a result has built up a mask that screams "unapproachable" as a shield? Is she warding off the world by cultivating hostility?
And further, I wonder: could her story be changed? Is she really just waiting for someone to be kind to her? How would the landscape of her face be altered by a genuine smile?