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Fiction #318
(published February 22, 2007)
The Blue Sweater
by Jason Polan
He wanted his eyes to be closed when his mom took the picture. He was holding them shut as hard as he could as his mother held up her new camera.

"Open your eyes Jeffrey." She said, as she noticed his eyes were shut. She said it as though he didn't know that that is what you are supposed to do when somebody takes your picture.

He opened his eyes while she looked through the little box on the top of the black and silver camera. She wanted to make sure that you could see all of the Christmas cards from all of their friends. She had 26 cards taped, with holiday stickers, up on the wall and four more in the mail that day that Jeffrey was sitting on when the picture was taken. She forgot to tape them up before taking the picture and would pinch herself when the developed photographs came back and she saw that they were sitting on the table in front of her. She would also notice that Jeffrey had closed his eyes again right before she snapped the shot.

Jeffrey wanted his eyes closed when his mom took the picture because of his friend's older brother. Jeffrey had been over at Michael's house earlier that day when he saw a picture of Ron, the older brother, with his eyes closed. He was sitting on some bleachers somewhere with three girls next to him. All of the girl's eyes were open and they were smiling. Jeffrey could see three fingers of Ron's right hand around the girl on the left hand side of the picture. She was the prettiest one. She was wearing a sweater that Jeffrey hoped was blue. It looked soft and Jeffrey thought about walking past her at school with the blue sweater on and gently touching one of its sleeves. This wouldn't happen because the girl was in 10th grade and Jeffrey was only in 3rd, but he didn't know that. He didn't tell Michael that he wanted to be like his older brother. He didn't know why he felt sad after he saw the picture and left the room with Michael to go eat some peanut butter on crackers that Michael's mom had made for them. After they ate, Jeffrey and Michael went outside to play in the snow and he forgot about Ron and the girl in the blue sweater until later that evening just before dinner when his mom came in to take the picture. Jeffrey was doing the world side of a two-sided map puzzle with his younger brother Andrew when their mom came in with her new Instamatic that their dad had bought for her for Christmas. He gave it to her a couple of days early so that she could get some Christmas shots before the morning of Christmas day when they usually opened the presents.

Jeffrey noticed that Andrew was getting better at putting the pieces together because he was starting to remember which countries go next to each other. This pleased Jeffrey.

After their mom took the picture, Andrew asked her if he could have some ice cream. She told him that dinner would be ready in just a couple of minutes.

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