Started: May 20, 2004 4:52PM
Ended: April 16, 2005 6:27PM- Prologue -
"You're so weird."
"Get away from us, no one likes you."
"You're a loner… why would we want to play with you?"
One consecutively after the other, the voices of the boy's classmates echoed throughout his head, driving the five-year-old child nearly insane. Who would have guessed that even at an age so young, people were already being judged and excluded?
All he had ever wanted was to be popular, to be cool, to be liked… to have friends. Yet had that been asking for too much?
Delicate teardrops descended from his glassy brown eyes, the sheltering and caressing words of his mother momentarily forgotten. Just for now, this boy decided to disregard his mother's words and to not care whether or not his tears served as any indication of weakness. All he could envision was their faces, regarding him with such hatred and distaste. All he could hear was their voices, demanding for him to get lost.
Slowly, the boy traveled to wherever his feet led him, his hands covering his face, hiding his tear-streaked cheeks and red, puffy eyes. He lowered himself onto a park bench, continuing to cry and completely oblivious to the world around him. There he sat, curled up into an almost ball-like form. His hung low, buried in his knees and his shoulders shook with each sob emitted, wishing for nothing more but to run away and escape this world.
"Are you okay?" a sweet voice came from beside him, interrupting the boy's session filled of both depression and desolation. He raised his head and looked up, wiping his tears, to be greeted by the face of an angel. The girl had long, straight black hair that was tied in two low pigtails. Her pale, oval shaped face was peering at him anxiously while a frown of concern formed upon it. For some reason, something inside him sparked the moment he laid eyes on her. There was something about her that made his thoughts run wild, along with his heart.
"Yeah," he replied softly, looking away and immediately feeling ashamed of the state that he was in, "I'm fine…"
At this, she smiled brightly, two dimples appearing, one on each cheek. And before he became aware of his actions, the boy found the corners of his mouth lifting upwards, returning the smile.
The girl opened her mouth to say something more, yet was stopped by the loud shout of a woman in the distance.
"Mai!" she called, causing the girl to turn around.
"Nae Umma?" she responded, her voice rising to shout over the children's shouts coming from the playground, almost managing to match the pitch of her mother.
"It's time to go," the middle-aged woman informed her, "Your appa will nearly go insane if we're late to meet the Lee's for dinner."
A disappointed frown appeared on the girl's features as she turned back to the boy positioned adjacent to her, "I have to go…" she said finally, "But will you do one thing for me?"
He looked at her, confused and a bit hesitant to agree, "I guess…"
"Don't cry," she told him, then smiled brightly, lighting up her whole face, while at the same time, the boy's whole life, "Smile more and be happy, okay?" She then stood up from the bench, preparing to leave.
The boy simply nodded and watched as she flashed one last smile and then ran off to the woman whom he had by now assumed to be her mother. And as she retreated, the boy lowered his gaze to his hands, loosing himself once again in his own thoughts, yet this time, his mind filled with much joyful thoughts,
'Don't worry, Mai, from now on… I'll smile… just for you…'