Caroline Commences Part Two

Dear Caroline,

We see you now at the Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park in winter. You’re bundled up in a turtleneck sweater, tan overcoat and furry black cap, the skyline of Central Park South soaring behind you. You’re smiling adorably, as usual. But something is different from the other photos.
You’re different.

You’re older now, maybe 13 or 14, no longer quite the little girl. You understand more, know more, see more. You’ve already lived something of a life, gathering experience.

So let’s go one more quick round here with some photos of you.

Here you are with your hair cut shorter, a page boy sort of bob with bangs. You’re wearing hoop earrings and some makeup, lipstick and so on. You’re trying to look older, and you do, beautifully so.

There you are in some kind of leotard, your arms bare. You’re smiling slightly, looking off to the side, and you seem somehow tentative, uncharacteristic for you. It’s as if you sense your girlhood coming to a close, and the dawn of the adult Caroline. You’re unsure quite what to expect, even though you know it will be good.

Finally, we see you now at maybe 18 or 19. You’re wearing a black V-neck, your hair elegantly swept back from your forehand. You’re in a restaurant – maybe Violino, the place we go to near Lincoln Center, before we see “The Nutcracker” – and Michael is seated next to you. Your smile is subdued here, no teeth showing. You’re happy, but grown-up happy. You look gorgeous, every inch the refined young woman. It’s as if you already suspect, rightly so, that the best is yet to come.

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