She can’t be more than 15 years old. I would guess for her to be even younger than that, the hair clip she wears is normally worn by younger girls. I had a pink one just like it when I was 5. In a t-shirt and a longyi, she sits next to me on the Circle Train, absent-mindedly nibbles on green mangos and chili sauce, looking out the window.

She’s taken care with her appearances. The hair clip, the earrings, the just perfect application of thanaka on her cheeks. We accept our youth, then one day, we reject it outright and do everything we can do speed up our entrance into adulthood. We only ever understand what we’ve given up when it is all too late. We play at dress up until it is no longer make believe.

She offers me some of her green mango. Her fingers are tiny, she flickers the empty plastic bag out the train window. She is too young to be old. Except youth and gaiety is not what is in her eyes. I could guess at what made an old soul out of her —- but I don’t want to —- there is no explanation free of cruelty and sadness.

Shu, Craig, Christine and Sanna said thanks.

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Charlie Grosso

Photographer - Writer. Adventure Traveller. Brand Consultant. Art Gallery Director. Possible Spy. Always on the road, living under an alias. Seeking co-conspirators.

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