Hiders, Keepers│Joy Nwamaka Chime


The first time I found your smile, it was at the bottom of a bottle of wine.

I handed only half of it back to you because I wanted to take you home with me.

I pinned the other half to my hair, just above my right ear so I could see it in the rear-view mirror as I drove home after our date.

You sent me pictures of you at work the next day. Your smiles in all the pictures were half smiles.

You wanted the other half back, so you bribed me with food after work. I never say no to food.

You came over to mine with the food. Before the night was over, I knew that if I gave you back your half smile, I would never see you again. I knew it in the way you stopped yourself from laughing too freely, stopped yourself from invading my personal space like I did yours. So I…

I went to the restroom, taking your smile from my bedside table first. In the restroom, I put your half smile in the back pocket of my shorts and sat on it. Made sure it was well flattened, so it didn’t make a bulge.

After we were done eating, I pretended to search for it in the house. You even joined in the search for something that wasn’t missing. Of course, we didn’t find it.

You told me you would come back the next day to search for it again. I told you how sorry I was for being so careless with something so precious. Promised I would find it and bring it to you. 

When you left, I allowed myself the pleasure of a little victory dance.

Then, gently, reverently, I removed your half smile from my pocket. I fluffed away the flatness, blew a little air over it, touched my lips to it and imagined it was on your lips.

On the heels of a happy expulsion of breath, I carefully rolled and tucked your smile into a small, empty wine bottle. It floated graciously and settled at the bottom, right side pressing softly against the walls of the bottle. Ah. My precious’ precious. I smiled back at it.

And where did I hide the bottle?

On the kitchen window. ? 

I used the bottle as a vase for artificial sunflowers. That way, I didn’t have to replace the cork and completely cut off air from reaching your smile.

Hidden in plain sight.

You would never find it.

You would always come back to me.

You would always be mine.

Joy is a mesmerising-eyed beauty who loves colourful things, laughs more than she smiles, reads more than she writes, and likes to eat more than she likes to cook. As a spoken word artiste, she is a wonder better experienced than explained, and as a professional editor and proofreader, she makes your work sparkle. She has performed on the Inside Out show on Rave TV, and is Managing Editor at wawabookreview.com. IG & Twitter: @nothingbutjoyc || YouTube: Joy Nwamaka Chime

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