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.