Laughter by the Drain

Lonely Footprints
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Ahreum was just eight years old when she experienced her first taste of love, a love that unfolded in the most peculiar and impactful way. It was a sunny afternoon, and the neighborhood echoed with the laughter and playful shouts of children. She was among them, her spirit untamed and her heart b with unadulterated joy.

On that fateful day, as Ahreum skipped along the sidewalk, her attention was captured by a group of boys playing near a drain. They were engaged in a spirited game of tag, their nimble feet darting and dancing with youthful exuberance. Among them was a boy, his raven-black hair falling into his eyes, who seemed to possess an otherworldly grace.

As she watched, Ahreum's eyes widened with wonder. Fate intervened in the most unexpected way. The boy misstepped, his foot catching on the edge of the drain, and he tumbled to the ground in a whirlwind of limbs and laughter. In that moment, uncontrollable amusement burst forth from deep within her. Laughter spilled forth, filling the air like a delicate melody.

The boy, lying sprawled on the ground, looked up at her with a mixture of surprise and embarrassment. His cheeks flushed crimson, mirroring the shade of the rose petals that scattered around them. Their eyes met, but no words were exchanged. It was as if the universe had conspired to create a profound connection, born from a shared moment of amusement and vulnerability.

In that instant, something shifted within Ahreum. A

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