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A Four-Year-Old Grows Up This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I stop at the snapshot sealed flat under the album page's plastic. The age-pink Kodak photo is of me. She is a pudgy me, four years old and spotted all over with smooth October mud, but mud-happy about the whole fiasco. Plugged in the chocolate mire, she is wiping her muddy hands on the neighbor's black labrador, Gigi.

Gigi is perching politely for the photographer. Gigi isn't her real name: Gigi is really a nickname for G.G., and G.G. is an abbreviation for who-knows-what. The four-year-old is patiently using Gigi as a towel. A pint-sized plastic yellow pail, well-mounded with vermillion maple leaves, stomps out of the mud next to Gigi. Orange leaves to garnish brown mud pies, I guess.

The four-year-old probably doesn't know that she is riding on an impish photographer's good humor. She doesn't know that garden grime makes nastier stains than Hawaiian punch and spaghetti sauce, but here she is anyway, perhaps again, and I am looking. I am looking at her, this alleged self, the four-year-old who was empty enough to stick her hands in the mud and spread it in her hair and on the neighbor's dog.

But Gigi is gone now and so is the four-year-old. Gigi is replaced by a morose basset hound and the four-year-old is replaced by a wiseacre. n


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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