I cooked lunch and knew the apartment had been quiet for too long. She was in her favorite room in the house - my bedroom. It is a mature and luxurious realm for a 9-year old's tender mind. To her, it's a wonderland of big-girl cosmetics, pretty colors and adult furnishings, girlish pieces of clothing and jewelry slung in seemingly random places, and a large mirror which had been lowered to accommodate her height.
She is so sweet and young that putting on her "big sister's" makeup is a splendid experience. Admittedly, even being in my (hehem) late 30's, having the occasional opportunity to reach into my best girlfriend's cosmetic bag to use something new-to-me can be a small excitement. It's interesting that, even though there's a margin of 30 years between us, my little sister and I are not that different: We're still both girls.
Noticing the atypical quiet in the house, I tip-toed into the room to catch a secret glimpse of her clandestine activities. She stood there, reflecting on herself in the mirror. "Don't look yet, Alyson. Don't look!", she said adamantly, as if she were planning a grand unveiling of her masterpiece and I couldn't sneak a peek one second before. I agreed to not look until she was completely done and took a seat behind her on my bed.
What I loved more than anticipating the lavishly-applied lines and colors on her face, was that I noticed she had slipped her feet into a pair of my linen high-heeled shoes. No doubt what attracted her was the feminine bow at the tip of the shoe. I also noticed - she still had the same socks on that she had just hiked in one hour earlier and that her tiny, but growing, foot was dwarfed by the size 8 1/2 adult shoe.
Once she was ready, she took her final stroke with the brush and turned around in a dramatic swoop to let me admire her. Like an artist, she was so proud of her work - and, you know, she looked pretty good. I smiled and gave approval of her makeover and we began to adjourn for lunch.
Just before we left the room, I turned to her with my camera and thought, I never want to forget this sweet, innocent moment.