Emerald Eyes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "All aboard," yelled the trainattendant.

"Good-bye," Mia's mother called to her as she ran toward thetrain. "I'll miss you! Don't forget to write and tell everyone I saidhello!"

"Don't worry, I'll be all right. I'll call as soon as I getthere," Mia yelled back.

The attendant showed her to her berth. She lookedaround the room and then set her things down.

"Is everything to yoursatisfaction, Miss?" the attendant asked her.

"Yes, everything looks fine.Thank you for your assistance." As she turned to thank him, she noticed that hehad the most enchanting green eyes. They had the softness of emeralds and wereenhanced by his jet black hair. He reminded her of the many starry nights spentsitting on her porch overlooking the ocean on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.She guessed him to be around nineteen or twenty years old and she wondered if hehad noticed her too.

"Just doing my job," he said. "My name is Jesse. Ifthere is anything you need, don't hesitate to call." Then he left.

It wasthree o'clock now and the train hadn't started to move yet. She wondered what theproblem could be. This was the first time Mia had been on a train alone since herfather's death two years before in a train accident. She reached for her luggageand began putting her things away. When she opened the closet door she thoughtback to a time when she and her father had traveled from Atlanta to Nag's Head.They had made so many trips together to the cottage on the dunes of the OuterBanks. Once she had hidden in the closet waiting to surprise him when he put awaytheir things, as he always did. She remembered how they had always laughed onthese trips together and missed that laughter now.

The train's highpitched whistle brought her back to the present and she realized that the trainwas already under way. Settling with a book beside the window, Mia was soonasleep from the steady familiar rhythm of the train.

She was awakened by aquiet tapping on her door. She heard Jesse's voice telling her that dinner wasbeing served in the dining car. She sat for a minute and thought about all thetimes her father and she had gone to dinner together. He had always told her thatshe was his princess and that she could have anything she wanted. Sitting there,Mia felt like her father was with her.

When she had finished her meal, Miadecided to check the entertainment car. On her way, she saw Jesse. She tried tosay something but the words got stuck in her throat and all she could manage wasa shy smile.

"Hi," he said, "are you enjoying your trip sofar?"

"Yes," she said softly, as she passed him.

In that shortamount of time, she could not believe how heavy the air seemed. She could nothelp noticing his eyes again. Mia was bewildered as to what was so mysteriousabout them. The moment passed quickly and she went on.

The entertainmentwasn't very exciting and she was tired, so she went back to her berth. When shegot there, she changed for bed, then picked up the book she had been readingearlier. For some reason, she wasn't able to concentrate on it, so she turned onthe radio. The combination of the music and the soft gradual rocking of the trainfinally lulled her to sleep.

Mia awoke to the sound of people in thehallway outside her door. She looked out the window to see the sun rising overgreen, rolling hills. There was a light mist in the air and fog was rising off asmall pond.

"What a sight," she breathed to herself, "if only you werehere with me now, Daddy." That dull ache arose once again in her chest, but shetook a deep breath and got ready for breakfast.

The breakfast car was fullof people. She was sure she had not seen them the night before. She caught aglimpse of Jesse from the corner of her eye. He was putting a little girl into ahigh chair. Trying not to be obvious, she watched him as he worked his way fromtable to table. Something about him tugged at her deep inside, but what? As shewas about to look away, he turned and gave her a full smile. She smiled back andthen looked away quickly. His eyes sparkled so beautifully from the light comingin the window and once again, she found herself intrigued. Mia sat quietlylooking out the window as they passed old farmhouses. Her thoughts wandered backto the old beach houses she had known in Nag's Head. The anticipation of herarrival there made her both sad and excited. There were so many feelings to workthrough. The train was scheduled to pull into the station around 1: 30 thatafternoon and she couldn't wait to arrive.

Mia packed her things and thentook out her book, in a futile attempt to read before she reached the station.Unable to concentrate, she put the book down and gazed out the window.

Thetrain pulled up to the station at 1: 15. Mia took her bags and headed toward theexit. She smiled at the familiar sights and sounds around her, and the saltyscent of the ocean greeted her as she stepped off the train. Once out of the wayof the other passengers, she set her luggage down to stretch and stopped short.Jesse was approaching her and she could feel her heart begin topound.

"Hi," he said. "I hope I'm not too forward, but I will be stayingin Nag's Head for the week and I wondered if I might be allowed to call you.Perhaps we could have dinner some evening?" Jesse noticed the bright red blush onMia's face and added quickly, "I didn't notice any rings and you wereunaccompanied, I hope I haven't been too presumptuous."

"Oh, no, no, notat all, I just was surprised to see you again. I will need to get settled for afew days first, but dinner sounds very nice. You could come to the cottage and wecould have dinner on the porch if you'd like. It's always so peaceful there,overlooking the ocean." Jesse smiled and said he would call her in a few days.They exchanged telephone numbers and said their good-byes.

Mia picked upher bags and went over to a taxi. As she gave the driver the address, she smiledto herself. Dinner with Jesse, on the porch, a spot she thought would not bepossible to fill with anyone else but her father suddenly had a new meaning, newhope, healing.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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