Fashionable tortoiseshell glasses frame my frustrated face; with fresh blue superwipe mask hitched high to cover my nose, I’m anxious to ask my questions, but each time I speak, my glasses fog up. I want to thank this young sales guy who knows so much about technical stuff; he talks to me clearly and simply, and it’s not a race to finish his spiel in an effort to impress me. I laugh as my glasses fog up again, I’m smiling but he can’t see that; so finally I gesture with my hand — a kind of non-touch high-five — with a slight tilt of my head, and then he knows I’m smiling, despite the intervening mask, and he is, too, I can see — we’re smiling with our eyes, smiling the way it was meant to be
Contextual Essay: A smile is the gift that costs nothing yet brings the joy of keeping us connected in these unsettled times. It’s tricky to see a smile behind a mask, so we have to come up with our own solutions. This one is mine.
Margaret Zanardo is a Sydney poet, writer and graphic designer. She has a background in languages, art and English literature. In recent years she has tutored in high school English and creative writing, and also edited academic papers.