I smiled at the receptionist; she didn’t smile back. When I passed her later, she beamed; I gave her nothing in return. The first time I thought, fuck you, then, I won’t be nice, and the second time I followed that through.
Then, on my way home, I thought, no, I’m the dick. It was early the first time. She probably saw me too late, if she saw me at all, and thought, shit, that guy was smiling at me. The second time she was making up for it.
The next time I went in I went up to her and apologised. I said, sorry, I should’ve seen you were tired, or had something on your mind or whatever. It must be hell being nice to everyone all the time.
She said, don’t worry, sir, it’s fine. I’m not sure I even remember what you’re talking about. But, anyway, we can’t smile all the time, can we?
I said, no, I suppose not, and smiled.
This time she smiled back.