A gangly teenage girl was sprawled across the bed, writing in a spiral bound notebook which was covered in hearts and block letters. Her dark brown hair was pulled into a tight ponytail high on top of her head with a hot pink scrunchy and she wore mismatched socks, one neon green and the other covered in a black and white checkerboard pattern.
It was Kimberly, around age thirteen, although at the time she went by the name Kimmie. She only changed her name to the more formal Kimberly when she went away to college, thinking that it sounded more sophisticated and grown up. Maybe she had grown up too fast, she wondered.
Kimberly noticed the notebook with interest and remembered filling up dozens of them with her writing. She had spent hours in her room making up stories, writing poetry, and sometimes even rewriting lyrics to popular songs which played on the radio. A lot of it was just nonsense or the fantasies of young teenage girls, but some of them were pieces that she put a lot of time and thought into. The pages weren’t just full of words and scribbles, doodles and dreams. She had put her soul into those notebooks. Kimberly wondered whatever had happened to them. They used to be such treasures to her, but she hadn’t looked at the notebooks or read from them for years. She didn’t even remember the last time she had tried to compose anything more creative than an email.
A strange feeling started to creep inside Kimberly’s gut and made its way to her chest. The sensation grew more intense and uncomfortable until finally she recognized what the feeling was.
There was a light knock on the door and Maeve slipped her head inside the room. Kimmie’s head popped up from her notebook and she grinned.
“Grammy! Come in!” she cried, adjusting herself to sit cross-legged on her bedspread.
Maeve sat down next to her granddaughter and beamed, “How’s my little authoress?”
With a jolt, Kimberly realized where the nickname that her grandmother called her came from originally. It was what Peter had called Maeve that day in the park. A lump swelled in Kimberly’s throat and hot tears filled her eyes. How had she not known this before?
“I’m great, Grammy. But I’m stuck on this story and can’t figure out what to do next. Do you want to help me?”
Maeve put her hands in her lap in a very official-looking pose.
“Talk me through it,” she said, her lips pursed and her eyes sparkling.
Kimmie then began telling a story about a princess who is in love with a boy in the village, but their romance is forbidden since he is not of royal birth. She must make the decision to say goodbye to her love forever and keep her kingdom, or give up her inheritance and the throne to be with her love.
“Well?” Maeve prompts. “It sounds like a most excellent story. What seems to be your problem?”
Kimmie thought for a moment, but her pause was brief.
“I’m not sure what the princess should do. I mean, I know what all the stories would say she would do: she would follow her true love. But is that realistic? I mean, in the real world no one would give up everything just to be with a boy they just met. And really, who would ever ask someone to not be a princess just because they like a certain boy? AND, how old is this girl anyway? Just because she likes this boy doesn’t mean she has to suddenly turn around and marry him! What if it turns out that he’s just some jerk who wanted to be cool and he thought hanging out with the princess would seriously up his coolness factor? These are serious questions, Grammy!”
By the end of her speech Kimmie was talking about a million miles a minute, her hands gesticulating in dramatic punctuation, but Maeve took it all in stride.
“It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this,” she said sagely, nodding her head in approval and deep thought. “I wonder if you have considered the possibility that the outcome may not be in black or white. Who’s to say that the story must follow only one of two courses along a path? Who’s to say that the princess cannot make an alternate ending, perhaps turn black into white, or forge a new course which does not follow along the path at all?”
“So you think she should dump him?” Kimmie asked, an incredulous expression on her face.
Maeve laughed a throaty, deep laugh. The sound made Kimberly smile with remembrance.
“I think she should follow her heart. What does her heart tell her to do? For that is the only thing which will bring her happiness in the end.”
Kimberly could still see the lopsided grin split across Kimmie’s face as the scene faded from sight.