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And a rose for a lonely girl:

At about 10 PM, I was walking across campus. I had just gotten off work at ResNet, and was in a very good mood. It was a beautiful spring night, clear and dark. I was on my way to see my girlfriend, and we were planning to spend the evening together.

I passed a rosebush near Morrill Tower, and I stopped. I looked at the bush, and in a sudden fit of romanticism, chopped off a flower to take to my girlfriend.

I walked down the path toward Larkins, enjoying the night air. I like to surprise my girlfriend with things like picked flowers and hand-written notes, though I don't do it often.

To my left, as I approached Larkins, there was a small playground, including swings and some chin-up bars. One of the swings was occupied. It was a girl who was just sitting, alone, supported only by that swing. She seemed almost deflated, but I remember her beautiful curly hair, for her back was turned to me.

I looked at her for a moment, and then at the flower in my hands. I knew what I had to do in this situation.

I walked around the fence, and up to the girl. She looked at me quietly, perhaps with a bit of apprehension. She looked as if she had been crying. I stopped in front of her and held out the rose. "Here, you look like you could use this."

She looked at me for a moment, and then reached out to take the rose. "Thank you," she said, as she took it from me.

"You're welcome," I responded, and I walked away. Just before I turned the corner around Larkins, I looked back. She had the rose held to her nose and a smile on her face.

That made me feel remarkably good.

When I saw my girlfriend that night, I told her this story. I told her that I had picked a flower for her, and had meant to sweep her off her feet with its presentation and my obvious romanticism, but that I had come across a girl who needed it more than she did. She understood.

I never saw that girl again. Sometimes I think about her. I wonder what made her cry, why she was alone, and whether that simple rose made any difference. I sometimes wonder if I should have sat down and talked with her. Most of the time, though, I just think about how happy she looked, smelling the rose and smiling, and that's enough for me.

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