So here is Vanessa grown. I know when I was a girl, all I wanted was some mental images of my girl-heroes all grown up and pretty. I needed it. I needed validation that I would one day grow up and be pretty, at the very least it was like seeing Skipper morph into Barbie (finally).
Grown up Vanessa’s hair is chestnut with golden strands running randomly though. It’s long, like two curtain panels, grazing her collarbone, always tucked behind her slightly elven ears. Her eyes are the same, but no more glasses, she saved up for Lasik. Her face has grown into itself and while she isn’t pretty in a conventional way, she’s beautiful. She’s been to college and she’s read a lot, so she knows the Oscar Wilde* quote: “The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never.” She hopes she isn’t ugly (she isn’t), but would rather fall on the side of beautiful on that spectrum. Her limbs are still long, she still runs daily (though not away from much now, she thankfully knows very little danger in her life) and with great exuberance. Just a few physical ailments bother her: her shins sometimes stretch too taut, she gets headaches if she doesn’t drink enough coffee, and once a month she takes to her bed for twenty four hours of groaning and lolling and watching old movies on Netflix.
Is she married? Does she have children? Is she still writing? Did she move far, far away to some turquoise beach? That, I’m not sharing. I simply give you a slightly blurry vision of what she is at twenty five. You know her at eleven, twelve, and now fourteen. She is that person still and she is also not that person at all. She remembers that girl with great fondness and even greater embarrassment. She is strong (but of course she was strong at eleven and twelve, too), she is smart, she is beautiful. The rest? That’s up to you.
*(This is not Vanessa grown. This is Oscar Wilde.)