Stealing Smiles

Some people doubt that I have the capability to do anything morally wrong, ever.
Those people are mistaken.
I am a thief.
Ever since the day I realized I could possess something belonging to another, I have been stealing on a daily basis. The things I steal are more valuable than any jewel, any car, or any amount of money—because they belong to someone. Not economically, not materially, but physically. I covet specific features of a person; things that one would assume can only be a biological aspect. This theory is a myth, and I have proven it wrong through many years of hypothesizing and experimenting.
It’s an uncontrollable urge.
Whenever I pass people, I like to make eye contact. This is an innocent action. But then, suddenly, their lips will curve upward and sometimes—even more suddenly—their teeth will be exposed and my own lips are forced into an equivalent shape.
For most, this common gesture is referred to as “exchanging smiles”. But for me, this is not the case. Even after “exchanging” the briefest smile with a stranger, that smile latches on to me and it happens so quickly that I am not able to return it. Later in the day, I will often find myself wearing that same smile in place of my own.
One might say that smiles are contagious. I think so too, but I don’t think others quite understand how this phrase could be translated in other languages (or perhaps in some very abstract minds).
The way someone smiles—quickly, timidly, vividly, etc.—can be contagious. If I see someone smile in a certain way, maybe in an unusual or out-of-the-ordinary way, I catch that person’s smile. I capture it and keep it captive as my own, because there is a chance that I may never be able to catch that smile again, and any mastered thief knows that no time can be wasted in the process.
The methodology of stealing smiles has evolved over time. Today, some thieves prefer cameras to steal smiles. Because of this contemporary method, nearly everyone who has traveled to densely populated areas has had their smile stolen. I, however, prefer the traditional method, because the naked eye and a memory can capture smiles (1) more quickly than a camera and (2) without the subject ever knowing.
I consider myself among the highest rankings of thieves, because the treasured items that common thieves accumulate will eventually lose their value. Smiles, on the other hand, never will.

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