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

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   It was one of those summer/fall/winter days, the kind where the air tells you it's summer, the occasional bursts of wind tell you winter is already here and yet your mind knows it's October. I was walking toward the prince Street Garage on my way back from the local Goodwill thrift shop with a lot on my mind between the homework I knew I should be doing and the thrill of being out on such a glorious day. My thoughts were far away when I noticed her.

The elderly woman was standing on the sidewalk. She didn't appear to be waiting for anyone, just standing and watching. She stood as still as a rock, except for her eyes, whose youth and agility surprised me as they darted from face to face. She was watching the passers-by, who literally were passing her by. Dozens of people passed her, and I saw her look at every one of them. It shocked me to see that not a single person even glanced in her direction. Most didn't even notice her standing there, deeming her as worthy of their attention as a bare cement wall. Those who seemed to sense her presence deliberately looked away, as if they had something to be ashamed of, something to hide.

As I approached, I could see the loneliness in her eyes, surrounded by an otherwise emotionless face. I could tell she was searching for something, although I didn't know what it was. She searched the faces of those in front of me and when my turn came, I was already looking at her. Our eyes met, and then I did something that seemed almost absurdly simple. I smiled at her. Her eyes danced from my eyes to my mouth and back again, as a look of joyous disbelief crept over the previously emotionless face. Then the disbelief burst into one of the most genuine smiles I had ever seen, and I realized that I had just given her exactly what she had been searching for.


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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