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Maggie McMoore’s Smile

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On June 8, 1845, Maggie McMoore, my distant eighteen-year-old cousin, came over from Ireland to live with us. Her husband, Patrick, had just died, and she needed to go to where opportunities were: America.

She had come to our red door with a stained kerchief, a torn blue dress, and a heart as big as the ocean. I hated her. She was not Maggie McMoore, I was! Maggie Ann McMoore is my name. I happened to be fourteen at the time, and extremely bitter at everyone in my path. She was no exception. I tried all I could to get her to leave, even packing her a suitcase and leaving it on our doorstep. I got in a lot of trouble for that because my parents adored her. She was the apple of their eye. Her kindness and gentle words were accepted with their love. They never wanted her to go.

Her smile could light up a room, and when she sang, she had the voice of an angel. Her long, slim features gave her quite the fair complexion. I was a stark contrast to her thin, charming figure. I was short and plump, with curly red hair and my freckles were a blanket to my skin. She had dark hair and a few freckles that sprinkled her nose. She truly was my opposite.
She started to cough merely months after she arrived. I didn’t notice, for I was still engrossed in my hostility towards her. Within weeks of beginning to cough, she was bedridden. You would think that at this time I would see my silliness and stop it immediately. Guilt should have set in then. However, I was still a foolish girl and continued to despise her for a year. She was lying there dying, and I still would not accept her love. She wanted to be friends with me. I could tell in the way she seemed to mourn every time I scowled at her. She was merely nineteen at the time, and those five short years difference could have been nothing had I not been so awful. She died about a year and a half after she came. When I started to realize that she was finally gone, I realized that I got what I wanted. Yet, I got the opposite. In my mind, I had thought that if she left, my heart would not break in jealousy of her every time my parents showed her affection. I eventually recognized that I was selfish. This came far too late. I had chance after chance to return fondness. All she wanted was to win my heart. I never gave her the light of day.
When she would smile, I would give her a scowl. She had lost her brother and husband within six months, yet I never saw her cry. She had no sadness. Her bold character shined through all despair. All I saw was her smile. That is something I will never forget. Maggie McMoore’s smile.



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