He could offer it freely: his confident smile. It was his shield to hold back the doubt that plopped, like a thick, over salted sauce, behind his eyes.
Most claimed that they didn’t see it lurking there; thin shoulders rounded, like it was facing a perpetual gale. They frowned in surprise when it took control of his tongue.
He was certain that it hadn’t always been there.
There were earlier moments in his life where he was the king of his hill and ills. He’d flitter around the pubs and clubs like a merry butterfly.
He would then, however, become giddy with the shinier hat and fuck things up in some way, opening the door once more for the stooped one.
Eventually it became to much, the charade he’d created. The weight of it barred his front door, like a tomb’s boulder.
It was easier that way for a while. He could watch the world turn and not feel inclined to be drawn into its games. But, he also knew that a tree cannot grow without sunlight on its leaves.
So, with a nervous tension that would equal any storm’s hand on an anchor chain, and a temporarily manufactured smile, he stepped back into the world once more.