When I was about 6 years old, I wanted my sweet sixteen to be that perfect night where I meet the love of my life and we get married and live happily ever after. Blah, Blah, Blah. Being 16 was always a huge thing for me. I was always a dreamer, thinking up unimaginable things. I never thought 16 would be so near, waving its hand just a few miles away. Well now that it’s getting closer, it’s not as glamourous as I used to think it was. I am not 16 yet but from knowing people who are 16, it isn’t like the movies say it is. But I used to think this is how it went…
The summer of 2018, the summer I will be 16 years old. The story my Gigi, which is what I call my grandma, used to tell me began with me arriving in North Carolina, with my best friends. Remember I was probably about 6 or 7 when this story was being told over and over again. My best friends would change every time we leaped into this dream universe. My Gigi knew that too, so she would pause right before saying who my best friend’s were just so I could cut in and name all my best friends at the time. So we arrived and went straight to the beach, riding in on whatever glamourous ride I decided lived up to my expectations at the time. One time it was a white horse with big pink ribbons, hanging from the horse’s long mane. Another time it was a pink convertible or the purple barbie car, just bigger than the little one I drove around my neighborhood at the time. We strut onto the warm beach in bikinis which I thought were so glorious as a kid, since I couldn’t wear one. My Gigi would say how beautiful I looked and how surfer boys were approaching us. Conveniently, just enough boys for me and all my friends.
I hated the part about boys. I would always try to change it because boys were gross then. I thought I would have a Prince Charming and he would give me a glass slipper and sweep me off my feet. But not a boy, not a surfer boy and his friends. My Gigi always included this part though, always saying, “It is the most important part of the story.” The boys would approach me and my friends. I sometimes would tell her to name the boy on my favorite tv show like Jake from Hannah Montana. He usually made an appearance in this story.
So the boys would talk with us for hours and then they would tell us they were having a party and it would “so cool” if me and my friends came. My Gigi always stressed there was no alcohol at this party, ever. The story would turn into a life lecture until the point of me jumping on top of her, begging her to continue the story. My Gigi would then skip to talking about the party. Music was blaring, just soda was scattered in coolers along throughout the beachfront house. The ocean roaring, smoothly along the brown sugar sand, making it a darker brown.
The dress I was wearing was the same every single time. It was hot pink with large black polka dots and I was wearing black high heels. I always made sure to add the heels, since my Gigi always forgot and I thought this was another advantage of being 16 and entering “women-hood.” I would walk in and all the boys heads’ would turn and look at me. My long legs stride into the music-filled room. All the other girls faces were rising with jealousy, holding their boyfriends close. My best friends and I approached the boys and they couldn't speak.
The party pursued on and my friends and I danced all night long. My Gigi and I touched foreheads every time we got to this part of the story.
The surfer boy pulls me out to the wood deck looking out on the cool ocean. A breeze makes my hair flow in the wind, making the moment even more magical. We lean in and we…Then my Gigi stopped and the story was over. We never finished it. I would fall back and laugh, surprised at how suddenly the story was over. I would pretend to puke at me kissing someone other than Prince Charming.
My Gigi told me the story was for me but now getting older she wishes her life was still that carefree and fun and to be young again. And I always wish that was how life is but it's not. No one gets a fairytale ending. 16 doesn’t seem all it's cracked up to be. Maybe when it's my turn for “women hood” it will be magical. Maybe 16 will end up being a fairy tale, a dream come true. But from experiencing 14 years of life, I have a feeling I won’t be wonderful but just get harder and more struggles will come my way. And not be as easy as I thought it would be a kid, not as fun. But we will just have to wait and see.