Here is the story with the smile affecting a life I was talking about here. The life is mine and the smile is... I don´t know whose. In 1992 I was traveling in the US and was in New York´s 5th Avenue. A young man coming from the opposite direction, according to his clothes and way to move a business man or a young university teacher, looked at me and simply smiled.
Smiled. Simply. An open, direct smile beneath clear, bright and somewhat also direct eyes.
I was 25 by then and old enough to know a bit of the smiles of men. Yes, it could have been that he liked something in my appearance, but definitely it was no going on the pull.
But I was too shy to keep his gaze and (God forbid!) smile back. I kept my stern face and walked pass him. However his smile stuck with me. Later on, again and again, I came back to it, analyzing it. He was not afraid to show somebody he liked, that he liked him or her. He was not afraid what I might think of him. He was not afraid that I might answer back and then, gosh, what would he do. He was not afraid of what a bad person I could have been. He liked something / somebody and simply reached out. Or was in his thoughts and smiled to them, and didn´t care who what could believe of that. He just felt like smiling and did it.
I had realized just HOW much shy and un-secure about myself I was. What prevented me to be also like him?! Part of these "He was not afraid of"´s above were fears of me, young woman coming from a country having had barely opened its gates to the world. All, fears preventing me from properly relating with people.
His smile showed me a path full of things I had to change, and did produce, slowly but sure, a change in me over the years. I can only hope I have payed it enough forward since.