The Little Girl Lost

Today, I read a book with the Spanish word for hope in the title.

Esperanza Rising, the cover promised.

I read the book in just one sitting,

Glossing over words I easily digested.

I found myself chiding along with Esperanza’s mother:

“Esperanza,” we said, “grow up.”

“Esperanza,” we reminded her, “life is different now.”

“Esperanza,” we told her, “you must find a new way to be happy.”

I started to write a paper, for class,

About how much I disliked Esperanza.

But then I stopped, and thought.

Was it that I did not like Esperanza?

Or was it that I would have liked her had I been a little girl too?

Had I been a little girl, would I have cared more about dust on my doll

Than making a little beggar girl happy?

Would I have scowled at the shack that was my home

Rather than be grateful that I had one?

The answer is, unequivocally, yes.

But, it’s a bit sad that I had to write an 800-1000 word paper to realize this.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I’ve grown just a tad too tall for this.

I am too grown to read stories meant for “eight and up”

Without viewing the words through college-level glasses,

Without sympathizing with the mother over the daughter in a story.

This realization grieves me, I must admit,

More even than I should care to acknowledge.

I feel as though I have lost something that I do not know if I can regain,

That a part of me has wandered off before I even knew it was gone.

This thing, I suppose, is a type of innocence lost.

The child me refuses to stick around.

But perhaps my grief is a bit untoward, and I should not lament

That I have grown to be, like Lewis’ Lucy, too old for fairy stories.

It’s better, I know, to have grown up, and not remained a spoiled child forever.

I just wish someone would have warned me that I would rise so fast.