Word Association This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   With all the acrimonious words in the English languagethese days, there are still a few associated with only the most pleasant andwonderful of things. They are rarely spoken, and when they are, they're notexactly shouted on the highways. When these words are used, however, they bring asmile to both their speaker and listener's faces. These words are seldomresponded to with anything but their repetition, even though storybook tales oflove seldom occur as often in reality as in the movies.

The words I referto are, of course, that three-word sentence, "I love you." Sure, peopleshow affection in public, often inappropriately, but they don't say the wordsenough, and not loud enough when they do. People should voice their affectionmore often.

The other day, I was walking down my street thinking how cruelthe world was because my gym bag had just been stolen at school and I had to takethe late bus, which meant I had to walk a long way to my house. I was in a prettybad mood, but then I saw a couple kissing. Actually, this made me even moreunhappy because I had no one to tell how I was feeling. But then I saw onewhisper in the other's ear, who smiled, then whispered back. I did not hear whatthey were saying but I could guess, and for a brief moment I shared theirhappiness. Then an old Chevy with the right door smashed in zipped by, and I wasagain dragged into my gloom.

I wonder how many times people say thosethree words honestly. Even I have uttered the words without meaning them. Manymore times I have regretted not saying them when I should have.

A fewyears ago, my grandmother died. It was very traumatic for my family, since shehad lived with us since before I was born. She watched soap operas, and when Igot home from school I would sit on her lap and do homework while she scratchedmy back. When I finished, we would watch cartoons together, even though she didnot like them.

When I was 13 she became very ill. Safta had to sit in bedall day, though when I got home from school she would still scratch my back asshe watched soap operas on a small television in her room.

Months went byand her condition worsened. She could not move her arm because she had anintravenous in it, but I still came and entertained her. Every day after school Iwould try to make her laugh by picking up the cat and dancing around as if wewere in a grand ballroom. She always smiled at my antics and I would smile backat her.

One night when I went to look in on her and say good night, Inoticed she was on her back as usual but something was wrong. When I walked overto kiss her cheek, I put my hand near her mouth and felt no breath. I knew shewas gone. Although it was too late, I said good night and I love you. Then I wentto bed.

My uncle, who had come from Montreal to be with his mother beforeshe died, entered her room and realized she was gone. I could not sleep thatnight. I could not even cry. I just stared at the blank ceiling of my room andthought about my Safta.

That was February of my eighth grade year,February - the month of Valentine's Day and my father's birthday. It was themonth of love and affection, and my grandmother whom I loved deeply had died. Ihad been too late in saying, "I love you," and I deeply regret it. Iadvise you to say these words, with the highest display of affection, to thoseyou love before it is too late.




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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