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Happy Valentine's Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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“Do you want to go together?” I asked.

“Sure, let me go with you,” she said, smiling. I had seen her waiting alone; a tall, brown-eyed girl with a long, blond ponytail and snow on her jacket.

We got on the chairlift to ride to the top of the mountain. I looked down and saw her skis were longer than mine. I had spent the morning alone, and it was Valentine’s Day, so even sitting next to this girl made me happy. Then she turned and asked, “So, where are you from?” I looked right into the deepest light-brown eyes I had ever seen. She fluttered her eyelids as if she thought maybe I was confused, and looked at me, patiently questioning.

“Um,” I stammered. I shook my head a little and heard the most beautiful laughter in the world: understanding, honest and heartfelt. She giggled and looked at me again. “I mean, well, I’m from a town about an hour south of here, with lots of apple orchards,” I managed to say, trying to recuperate.

The ride up the mountain through fog and light snow had begun as a way to get to what I love, but I ended up loving what I got. Next to me was a girl so beautiful and friendly, I began to wonder if she could really ski. So I asked, “Where are you going to ski now?”

“I don’t know yet,” she admitted, blinking those heartbeat eyes and shrugging her shoulders, “anywhere.”

We talked for awhile, gliding through the fog, looking down on snow-covered tree branches and quiet trails empty of intruding tracks. This is amazing, this can’t be happening, I thought. Lost in her laughter, hypnotized by her bottomless eyes, I began to seriously consider my ability to ski in my condition. “Can we ski together?” I asked.

“That’s great with me,” I heard her say, in a daze.

We skiied together for what I kept hoping would be an eternity. Every time she would make it to the bottom first and wait for me. After telling her how incredibly fast and talented she was, I was rewarded with the everlasting memory of her smile, laughter, ponytail and brown eyes all at once. It felt like my day, my life, had just begun. Admitting I had to leave with my parents at 3:00 p.m. was a guaranteed promise of near-future regret.

On our last run, I still only knew her first name: Carey. We made excuses to stop and spend as much time together as possible. By that time it was clear to both of us that we had connected in a special way. She laughed at everything I said. We glanced, smiled and stared at each other even when we weren’t talking. Then I went with her down to where I could take my skis off and go inside the lodge.

The next ten minutes and what they would bring weighed heavy on my heart and made me catch my breath at the same time. I didn’t want it to end, or to say good-bye. Too much had happened in a short period of time, cutting it off too soon seemed inconceivable. We both quietly took off our skis. She bit her lip and faced me with her eyes melting my heart, bringing a thousand feelings but no words.

“I have to go fix my hair and go inside, too,” she stuttered, looking down. We walked in, and as she went down one hallway and turned to see me step toward another, we both stopped. “Um, see you later,” we both said, barely hearing the words.

Each step away was harder, and the urge to run back and find her grew unbearable. Through the window I saw her walk out and put her skis back on. I ran outside, hoping to find her. I looked around, with the desperate hope of expressing the huge feeling in my heart. But she was gone, and all I could do was whisper, hoping she could somehow hear me inside her heart, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

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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