A bevy of small girls in smart dresses, petticoats taut under skirts of pale pink. "Look at my party shoes, they sparkle!" Birthday girl says to the newcomer who clutches her mother's hand, unequal to the task of letting go, leaving that familiar smell of face powder and perfume and lipstick. "Look at the cake!" Birthday girl says.  "Five candles.  Count them!" And she does, still holding fast to that hand.  But enchanted by sugar flowers, iced rosettes. Her first party.  First friend. She lets go, little knowing that the bond of friendship thus flickered will flourish, endure. Span decades.

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