Innocence isn’t necessarily lost by age or maturity. I think many things can kill it, but it also can be regained. You never realize when your innocence is gone either. Many people assume that by entering high school that they are fully mature and they know just about everything, but assume would be the key word. I have always thought that my purity had vanished long before junior year. I will admit that there were times when I would have a childlike thought, idea, or action but I never gave them a second consideration. To me, they were like the thoughts that come into your head, but then are gently guided away unintentionally. I always thought, “Mara, you’re in high school. You need to be acting mature which means thinking maturely. No more playing and having fun”. Eventually my innocence had just about disappeared. Or so I thought.
My own innocence resurfaced one night while having a cabin sleep over with my friend Kari, her two younger sisters, Amy in 8th grade and Sarah in 4th grade, and her dog, Koko. All five of us lying on a pull out bed seemed to tug at my 4th grade feelings. Forgotten feelings of pretending to be asleep when your parents walked down, giggling about nothing, talking about boys rather than “men”, and tickling each other until you scream. Sarah lectured Kari, Amy, and me on how boys are “icky” and she won’t like any until she’s 30 years old and wants to get married. The speech concluded with Kari telling Sarah about how many boyfriends Sarah will have and how all the boys in middle school will want to kiss Sarah. We all genuinely laughed as Sarah cried out in disgust.
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No matter what the topic of conversation was that night, Sarah, being her usual loquacious self, never allowed it to become too serious. She always had complicated, yet innocent questions to ask and we always did our best to answer them. Granted, most of the time Kari, Amy, and I didn’t know how Sarah could be thinking of how plants make babies, why you have to pay to eat food, or who is the smartest person alive, but we were always sure to find a logical answer for her. Our answers were not always correct but, on account of Sarah’s trusting nature, she never questioned us.
All through the night, the conversation was never silent; there was always a comment on Koko’s fidgety sleeping ways. We convinced ourselves that, in his dreams, he was being hounded by Foxy the raccoon, his sworn enemy. For those four hours, all I could think of was how simple life used to be and how much I miss the way it was: not fretting about homework, not multi-tasking, doing what I please, playing because I want to, and loving every new thing about life. That night my innocence came inundating back to me. I’m not denying that I have been corrupted and am mature, but I will never lose my sweet innocence in its entirety, not even when I’m 52 years old. “That part of me will always be there,” I thought to myself that night and that is comforting.