After school – special

Amid the afternoon carpool rush, a photographer captures a quiet moment of friendship.

Mary Knox Merrill/The Christian Science Monitor

Sometimes life's most precious moments occur between glances, and, if I'm alert and fortunate enough, I get to capture them with my camera.

At the International Com­munity School in Decatur, Ga., activity swirls just as it does at every elementary school. Children are barely able to sit still at their desks. They blurt out answers to questions after forgetting to raise their hands. They use their stored up energy chasing one another around the playground, hollering with laughter.

And yet there are quiet moments, too – ones like this that I found while photographing the chaos of afternoon carpooling.

I took a few frames of these two girls as they exited the school doors, but they were too posed and aware of the camera. So I kept watching, hoping for something to happen.

My eyes followed as they walked down the corridor with afternoon sunlight streaming in. I switched cameras and used a telephoto lens when they were far enough away to forget I was there.

And then, snap.

Among all the noise was this quiet moment of childhood friendship. And even though you cannot see the girls' faces, you connect with their youthful innocence and remember when life was just about backpacks and a friend.

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