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Blue Keds

As soon as I laid my eyes on the girl, I knew there was something different about her. She had a shy, quiet smile that stood out like no other, an adventurous glint in her hazel eyes, and an exciting air about her.

But that wasn’t what caught my eye. Despite her enthusiasm, I could sense the hardness hidden in her expression and the anger in her clenched hands.

Instinctively, I knew I had to get to know her. I had to know why she would pretend every time someone came up to her and said hello. Why the smile she pasted on was so obviously fake and yet everyone ignored it.

So every day, I would wander around the park, waiting for the brunette to show up. She goes to a different spot each day right when the sun beats down on the trees, turning the leaves and grass brown. It hasn’t rained in a few months and the wind is nonexistent.

But Lucy- as I have taken to calling her- comes like clockwork and sits down on a bench, shaded or unshaded. She has the same blue Keds on as yesterday and the day before, and green shirt on and shorts. Her hair is done up in a simple, tight bun high on her head. Curiously, I watch her sit there and read a novel or write in her notebook. One time, she brought her sketch pad with her.

I have no courage. If it was any other girl, I wouldn’t have a problem talking to her. But as I have said, Lucy is different. Her aurora keeps me shy and behind trees.

An hour passes by quickly, as I settle onto a stiff, grassy area opposite from Lucy. Drawing has never been among my best talents, but I had to give it a try. To draw the striking eyes and pale lips on the sharp, angled face. I doubt myself that I’ll be able to capture her spark onto paper, but I’ll see where it takes me.

Having brought a bigger book with her, Lucy doesn’t move for hours, making her the perfect subject. Lines are constantly erased and my fingers become smudged with graphite. But eventually, I get close enough to what I envision. The pale girl’s spark has somehow been managed to be caught on the paper.

Pleased with myself, I stare down at the sketch. My mistakes are obvious, but I don’t dare erase them. To be rid of them, it would destroy the spark and all of Lucy’s flaws.

Yet, so entranced in adding little details to the girl’s face, I don’t notice the sound of crunched grass. Only do I look up when I see the worn pastel blue Keds in front of me. My jaw drops when I see that it’s Lucy in front of me.

“What are you drawing?”

It’s as if I didn’t hear her at first. It takes longer than normal for me to process her words. Her voice is quiet and soft and it makes me blush.

“Oh- uh… I doodle from time to time. And you weren’t moving, so I decided to….” I trail off as the girl smiles, and comes around me to get a better look at the sketch.

“Wow. That’s impressive. Not bad.”

Once, again her musical voice strikes me and I can’t speak. “Thanks,” I stutter.

The girl comes back around to face me, and starts edging away from me. “Well, maybe I’ll see you around, artist boy.” There’s a smile on her face, a real one. All the sorrow I have seen her hide is gone and nothing about it is pretend. I savor every moment of it before it fades away, and the girl walks back to her bench.

I stare after Lucy, stunned, too frozen to think. “Wait!” I call after her.

The girl turns back her head, and looks at me quizzically.

I open my mouth several times before I can say it. “What’s your name?”

Lucy gives me a weird look.

“I- uh, like to label my drawings with people’s names if I draw them. Sorry if….” I trail off, and curse myself for not being able to think straight. She must think that I am stupid.

“Oh,” the girl says, relieved, “My name is Hanna.”

I give Hanna a sheepish smile and say, “Thanks,” and watch her worn blue Keds carry the girl I’ve fallen for away.

That was just the first day.

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