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IN A TINY TOWN there were two little cottages. A little girl lived in the Little Violet Cottage on top of the hill, and a little boy lived in the Little Green Cottage at the bottom of the hill. Although they never talked with one another, they often thought about each other. 

“Wouldn’t it be nice if he asked me to play with him sometime?” The thought passed through the girl’s mind each time she noticed the boy biking up the hill. “I really like the way his curly hair flops on his forehead. I wonder if he likes me. I wonder if he has a lot of friends, if he even notices me around here.” 

The boy would think, “Her blue eyes sparkle like stars. I have never seen anyone with eyes like those before. I wonder if she sees I’m biking by her cottage. I wonder if she notices me, if she knows how badly I want to talk with her.” 

“Why doesn’t he say hi to me, just once, just one little word, hi? It doesn’t take much. We are neighbors, after all, and we both go to the same school. He passes by my cottage every day. If he doesn’t like me, why does he climb up the hill to pass by? There are different roads around here. If he chooses to take this road, wouldn’t it be nice to say hello?” Such thoughts made the girl mad. Then she thought, “Maybe I should talk with him.” That made her nervous but sounded a good idea at the same time. Suddenly, another worrisome thought filled her head. “What if he makes fun of me and then tells jokes about me at school?” She became frightened and hid behind the curtains as if the boy were nearby.  

The boy had fearful thoughts as well. First he thought, “I’ll go talk with her tomorrow,” and right away a scary question popped in his mind. “What if she says, ‘Leave me alone’ or ‘Go away’? Why would she talk with someone like me, anyway? What is special about me? I bet she has a lot of friends and all of them admire her. Her long, wavy, golden hair, sparkling sky-blue eyes, those cute dimples that appear when she smiles . . .” The boy smiled too when he imagined her. 

Days, months, and years passed. As they grew older, life became busier with new friends and new challenges. They thought of each other less and less each day but still did not dare to talk to one another or catch each other’s eye when they passed by. 

One day the boy packed his suitcase. He was going away, to the big city to start a new journey. The girl also was ready to leave the tiny town for a bigger adventure. 

The train line was near her house, so the station was very close. She took an early afternoon train.  

The boy missed his train in the morning. First, it made him upset, but then he said to himself, “I guess I’ll take the next one.” He hugged everyone goodbye one last time and left the house.  

The girl was already on the train. Her eyes welled up with tears while she blew last kisses to her mom and dad standing on the platform and waving back at her, sending kisses. They were hiding their tears from her to not to add more to her nervousness. It’s never easy to say goodbye. Her heart trembled a little: going to the big, strange city, with lots of people. What if she couldn’t make friends? What if she ended up staying on the street like a tree and nobody even noticed her? How hard was it going to be, studying at the college? What if she didn’t even like that city and ended up lonely, sad, and scared?  

Walking toward the train, the boy turned his eyes to see for the last time the Little Violet Cottage that the girl lived in. He sighed and entered the train. While looking for a seat, his mind was wandering: “I don’t even know where am I going or what’s waiting for me. I don’t know anyone there. How am I going to fit in?” Deep inside in his heart, there was a little fear bothering him.  

He saw an open seat from afar, and as he walked closer, he found a young woman was sitting in the next seat. Noticing that someone was standing close to her, she raised her eyes. She was the girl from the Little Violet Cottage. The boy was astonished! Then he felt he had to speak, to say something to break the awkward silence.  

“Hi,” he said. 

“Hi,” said the girl and smiled. The boy smiled too.  

“May I?” He pointed to the open seat.  

“Please.” The girl picked up her bag from the seat. The boy sat and looked at the girl. The girl smiled again.  

“I’m Fea,” she said.  

“Sam,” said the boy and shook the hand the girl extended. The two hands melted together. They raised their eyes and smiled at each other. Her blue eyes were sparkling like the stars. His golden curls were hanging down on his forehead.  

They talked all the way to the city and never noticed that they were still holding hands. 

The two little cottages in a tiny town stood smiling at their new journey and waited for the new stories to begin. 


Sadagat Aliyeva was born and raised in Turkan, a suburb of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, during the Soviet Era of Stagnation. Her burning desire for freedom brought her to the United States, where she settled in Des Moines, Iowa.