The smile of God
For a 6-year-old, Javier was pretty bold. One summer morning, after cereal, he put on shorts, an Osasuna jersey and left the house. "I'm coming and coming back!" he shouted to let his mother know (she lifted her head out of the magazine and again felt that twinge of pride at her son's recent initiative to go out and play soccer). But the plan was different: after a 30-minute jog, the boy finally arrived at the store on Carlos III Avenue.
-Hi, Javi. Here again?
Magdalena, the saleswoman, who was about 20 years older than him, had greeted him with her eyes on her cell phone. The boy preferred to wait for her: he noticed the jet-black hair that fell on both sides of her face; he liked the color of her apron, as it contrasted with the brown of her face and arms. She thought her eyes were big and beautiful, but they were losing their life: by then they were tired, severe, almost dull; especially because the paint could not quite hide a purplish stain that extended below her left eye; the boy was looking at her right there, wrinkling his nose, when she was ready to attend to him.
-You're coming to buy the chocolate bar, aren't you? -she scolded him as she turned towards the shelves to choose one and took advantage of the movement to cover her cheek with a curtain of hair. Then he leaned on the counter and added with a reproachful tone, "Javito, instead of coming here every day... wouldn't it be better for you to ask your mother for a little more money to buy a chocolate bar? pouch bigger? Because you live a bit far away, don't you?
-Are you walking or taking the bus?
-It's just a couple of apples, a nothing thing.
The girl closed her eyes and sighed.
-Well, come on, it's 20 cents," he informed her half-heartedly, while regaining his haughty countenance. Are you coming again tomorrow?
-I think so, and I'll tell you why," said the boy defensively. But before he could finish, he stretched out his arm to give him the coin and lingered to check the treasure he received in return.
-Hmm? -She felt the sting of curiosity and pretended to order the box.
-He swallowed with difficulty, put the chocolate bar in his pocket, looked her in the eyes, "I come because I like to see you.
Magdalena's eyes sparkled.
-Javi! Come here, let me give you a kiss!
The boy went around the counter to meet her, she kissed him on the forehead and left him blushing. Javi couldn't get over his astonishment and as soon as he came to himself, he felt exposed and started to flee. He crossed the automatic door with quick steps, but with the growing smile of a bullfighter leaving through the Puerta Grande.
The boy had gone about 10 meters away, when, suddenly, he needed to go back.
-I'm sorry," he excused himself from the doorway, with the chocolate bar in his hand and a self-conscious look on his face. I forgot one thing: Do you want half?
Magdalena's eyes sparkled.
-No, thank you. She's all yours.
-Oh, very well," replied the child, visibly relieved. Agur! -he added, with a smile so pure that Magdalena saw in it an image of God's smile.
The girl ran to lean against the side of the door to look at Javi. "Ay, Javito," she sighed as the boy walked away down Carlos III Avenue, walking like a drunkard, like a sympathetic drunkard, unlike he... "Why didn't I realize it before, it's obvious! But it only dawned on me now, thanks to this little guy... The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the likes of them," he reminded himself. She ran to the bathroom, grabbed her hair to wash her face and remove the paint, put her face to the mirror to check the state of the bruise and then, determined, called her boyfriend.