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His name was Jeffrey. His skin was the color of toffee, a creamy light brown, even as a little boy. I remember his eyes- those most vividly of all, because they were brown like mine. A dark, nearly opaque melted brown. See, that was the only thing we ever had in common, even though we played together so much that many children in the neighborhood thought we were related somehow.
I was a quiet little thing, with white skin and painfully cliché blonde ringlets. We were just kids, barely four years old. He used to make fun of my lisp; I used to make a bizarre whistling sound whenever I pronounced the consonant, -s. Not the mean kind of making fun, just teasing. That's where it all stops- my memories are misty at best, and that's all I have of my very best friend. Not even a last name- I'm sure I knew it once, but it has long since slipped from me, like water cupped in my hands. That first true love in pre-school, the one you have that involves crayon drawings, watching Scooby Doo in the mornings, making wishes on dandelions, and daring each other to eat fresh snow right off the ground, a challenge forbidden to us by our parents. I remember winning that challenge, much to my mother's dismay.
We lived in Utah then.


My family has long since settled down, in a comfortable suburb in the south. We do all the things a southern family should by the unspoken laws of Southern Standards. We drink our tea cold and sweet, cook food with too much butter, and talk with that slow, honeyed drawl. We moved when I was five-I've grown up here. But I'm nearly twenty two now, and haven't banished thoughts of Jeffrey. See, months after Jeffrey and I became inseparable, I awoke one morning to disaster. He had moved away.

But not even just moved- his parents, wretched through the makings of divorce, split on a whim. I never saw Jeffrey again. If course, I thought my life was over. And now, almost twenty years later, here I am.
I used to think all the time about those dark chocolate eyes that mirrored mine.

Pre-school love teaches you nearly everything you should ever know about real love. I don't know about anybody else, but I think the same rules apply. Share everything, don't lie, defend each other, don't call names; shall I go on? He was perfect. This is the little boy who ran from bumble bees with me in terror. Who punched a boy for calling me the most intense, obscene name he could come up with at four: stupid. Jeffrey, who disappeared to Texas or Washington with his father that day. Or maybe it was with his mom.
My brown eyed partner in crime.

I'm so different now, of course, as an adult. My short, wire thin frame is long gone, replaced by long legs that have prevented me from sitting and swinging my legs since the fourth grade. Those tell tale ringlets have grown out straight, and have been highlighted into blonde submission. My lisp was finally banished, my braces phase introduced and removed, and I developed a love of writing and music, as opposed to my familiar crayons and bedraggled Barbie dolls.

You know what's sad, though? I noticed today, as I was walking out of my apartment, reflected in the full length mirror that hangs by the door.
Everything was in place for my new job as an editor of a small magazine. It was the first ‘real’ position I had interviewed for, and now, I was off to my first day of work. I had on just the right shade of lipstick, and not a blond, highlighted hair was out of place. My blouse was freshly ironed, and crisp, my high heels were just high enough. The shoes made a smart clicking sound as I prepared to walk out the door. And I caught a glimpse of my eyes, just as the sun came into the mirror. I was surprised to saw a soft hazel- not brown. My family always told me I secretly had my mother's eyes, not my dad's, and that one day nearly overnight, there'd be touches of green there, hidden in the faucets of brown. They had been steadily lightening over the past few weeks, but I guess I had never stopped in the light long enough to truly examine them. I never believed them, and was oddly possessive of my dark chocolate eyes. Yet, they turned out to be hazel after all, not brown.

The thought made me purse my lips, in discomfort.

I guess we didn't have much anything in common after all.




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