Don’t Forget to Smile – Chrisdene Cloud

Set two alarms. Always smile. Wear lipstick. Lots of lipstick. Preferably red. Get your jackets dry cleaned. Keep them pressed and snug against your body. Stay thin. Leave two hours early. You never know what could happen on the train. Pack your own food. Fruit and cheese makes you bloat. Don’t bother going to the crew room to grab your comail. The supervisors just stand around lurking like suits hanging from the ceiling. When you walk the aisles, always acknowledge the children. Especially the ones who say please and thank you. Give children coloring books. Make sure you smile at them too. Smile at the man who switched seats for a mother and her child with a disability. Get the man a glass of water when he asks you. Smile as you ask every single person the same question. Smile as they ignore you. Smile as the lady wearing a similar suit screams in your face. Smile as she tells you you’re terrible at your job. Smile as people ask you the same fucking questions. Smile as they roll their eyes at you. Don’t cringe at the man walking around barefoot. He doesn’t know the things you’ve seen on these floors. He wasn’t there when you discovered the old man hunched over in the bathroom. He was already gone inside his sleep. Where is the doctor. Don’t forget you served him a drink. Don’t forget to grab him. Right now. Don’t forget to tell him what happened. Don’t panic when you pull the man onto the floor and start CPR. Don’t panic when you see blood coming out of his mouth. Don’t forget to stay calm. Don’t forget to stay silent when you hear his ribs breaking. Remember your training. Don’t panic when his heart won’t start beating again. Don’t forget to hold his son’s hand as he’s crying. When the doctor asks you for something, don’t stare at him blankly. When you land, don’t forget to tell the paramedics what happened. When you get to your hotel room, don’t forget to write your report. When you finally get to sit down, pour yourself a glass of wine. Try not to drink too much. When you inevitably drink too much, don’t forget to call your Mother. You need to tell her that you love her. Hold yourself accountable. Make sure you stretch and drink plenty of water. Let yourself sleep 14 hours. Sometimes your body needs to pretend it’s dead. When you wake up and forget what city you’re in, don’t be alarmed. Look outside and remember you’re in somewhere outside of Austin. See the stems of the trees and smile. Don’t forget to smile.