As I was watching the kids in the skate park, I noticed that two boys were bullying another child. 

One of the bullies had an innocent face, very colored and expensive clothes, sort of a teddy-bear kid, but with visible aggressiveness. 

 “He arrived later in our class, and he is a freak. He always sits alone, talks during the classes and burps,” the bully told me when I asked him what was wrong with that boy and why he talks like that to him.

The bullied boy wasn’t scared. He was laughing, making mild jokes, defending himself in a very relaxed and unaggressive way and not talking from a victim’s position, rather as somebody that doesn’t want to enter the coolness game. But nevertheless he seemed very lonely, and it was evident he would have liked playing with the others.

We talked, and he told me he was indeed new in the school, that the other children weren’t very friendly to him right from the beginning. I asked him why he didn’t tell his parents about the whole bullying experience. “It’s not worthy. I’m going to be in this school for another two years, and then I’ll go to high school.

Why so much trouble for such a short period?”

I had Robi's number, so I called him from the office. He answered the phone and I was amazed by the childish voice. He told me he had been in Herastrau earlier, but now he was just hanging out with his friends in front of the house.
Can I come there, take a few pictures of you?
After a few seconds silence, I heard him asking his friends. Is that girl, Diana, do you want her to take some photos? He finally said it’s ok and he told me the place where I had to come.
Aurel Vlaicu metro station at 6pm is a swarm of tired people returning from their jobs; worn-out bodies, drained eyes, corporate workers, dogs, poverty and booooom!!!three small bodies landing in front of me, directly from their skateboards.

“I guess you don’t know Nick, he is a good friend of ours,” Robi told me. Robi, the skinny, redhead boy. Next to him was the other Robi, shorter, more talkative and crazy for photos. “Watch this out, won’t you take a picture? Let me try it again, this is a whole new trick!!!” They bought some Madeleine cakes, did a few tricks and then we headed to the bridge. The bridge was recently built, but for some reasons, it wasn’t yet used by a single car or person.

The shorter Robi was laughing, imitating dogs, screaming, bumping into the other Robi, while Nick was silently riding his skateboard. He was the shyest. Redhead Robi saw his mother cleaning the windows of the restaurant where she was working and started waving to her. Mami, mami, mamiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

I invited them to a pizza. Not only did the woman that sold them Madeleine cakes know them, but they were friends with the pizza guys as well. In the winter they helped push a car and received free pizza, so they told me. "What do you talk about when you go out?" 
Girls, of course.
 For example, my last girlfriend. We talked on Facebook, then the next day we met and we kissed.
While we ate pizza, I heard Nick talking for the first time about how he broke his leg. He had a loud, childish, funny voice.

Back to the metro station, redhead Robi and I silently walked side by side. The others were playing a few meters away. I was so silent because I felt that next to me was a fragile human being. A little boy.

Nick phoned his mom to come pick him up. Redhead Robi’s mom, who worked and lived nearby, also came.

 I took the metro back home with the shorter, darker Robi. “What did you talk with Robi on the bridge, when you walked just the two of you?” he asked, with a slight note of jealousy. "You seem to be having a special relationship."





 In spring I started a series about the kids I had met in those months and the first one was about Pitic; also the last one, because for a pretty long time I stopped taking photos. When waters got clear again, I didn’t know how to reconnect to the story, so I put it aside.
In June I met Pitic in Atelierul de Productie. I was pretty thrilled to see him, to introduce him to my friends. They all recognized him from the photos. He told me that he would like hanging us with us that night, because he lived with his grandmother and couldn’t enter the house until the morning; his grandma didn’t know about him going out. So Pitic joined us and we went to a friend’s apartment, Ioana, where we ate sandwiches and sweets. Ioana had a piano and apparently Pitic studied in a music school, so he and Ioana played piano. He showed us some videos on YouTube with skaters and at about 8 am we all went home.
For the next months I lost track of all those kids and all I knew about them was from their Facebook statuses. They started attending concerts, posting pictures where they all look more mature and they were all in a relationship.
About one week ago, I met Pitic again, at Unirii. I waved to him and he waved back, but I am not sure that he recognized me. It was then when I understood that these kids are growing up and if a few more months they won’t be the kids from my pictures.
I thought I should go back to the moments when I met them, because these stories aren’t only about the kids, but mostly about an age, about the moment before we grow up forever. 

The first post will be about Robi.