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

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   He smiled at me rather hesitantly at our first meeting. It was a Saturday afternoon in the summer and I was at the playground watching my little sister. He was there with his mother and sister. I asked if I could share the bench and he smiled shyly from the depths of his round brown eyes. That was the beginning of our relationship.

I saw him the next Saturday and on the Saturday after that. At the beginning, he was rather quiet. I talked a lot, and he listened. The words didn't matter. His smile, no longer hesitant, told me all that I needed to know. The smile my appearance elicited was a special smile, one that he gave to no one else except perhaps to his parents.

As our relationship blossomed, the knowledge that I would be seeing him got me out of bed on many a Saturday morning. I saw him every weekend through heat waves and snowstorms. As our relationship grew, I got to know his likes and dislikes. He was fond of playing with my jewelry; I liked to stroke his soft head of dark hair. I occasionally felt compelled to kiss his soft warm hand. He didn't seem to mind, although he never returned the favor. The significant difference in our ages bothered neither

of us.

Through the year, I watched with awe and trepidation as he gradually became more social. I found myself walking around with him as he made new friends and acquaintances. He was loved by all. When we returned to the park one year after our first meeting, he was no longer content to communicate with only me. He shared his special smile with others.

At the end of our second summer, I sensed that our relationship was drawing to a close. I wanted something to remember him by, so I used him as a model in a series of portraits I was taking for a photography class. I included his sister so she wouldn't be jealous, but I was really doing it for him. I had a passerby take a photo of the two of us. It is the only reminder I have of the special friendship.

Soon his family moved to a neighboring town. Our simple, quiet relationship would not withstand the separation. I knew that once he stopped seeing me weekly, the friendship would fade from his memory. Even now, two years later, the memory of his brown eyes and uplifting smile are as clear to me as if I had seen them yesterday. Although I no longer think about him as often, when someone gives me a hesitant smile, or opens warm brown eyes in laughter, I am reminded of him.

I know he does not feel the same way about me. He has moved on. He is at a new school and has a new circle of friends closer to his age. When I last saw him a year ago, he no longer readily shared his open smile with me. I reminded him I was the girl with whom he had spent many warm Saturday afternoons in the park. He gave me a half smile; it was only a shadow of the smile he had once so freely given me.

I suppose this shouldn't surprise me. He was only six weeks old when I first met him in the park, and he was little more than a year when our friendship ended. I will forever remember the year in which I saw a child turn from a smiling, immobile, silent, observant newborn into a gleeful, laughing, active toddler. Though he will remember nothing about me, neither my face nor my name, I will never forget his smile or his deep, warm, brown eyes. c


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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