“I still have a bit of red on my face,” The Girl said.
Yes, it doesn't look like anything serious, I said -- perhaps you brushed against something in the forest.
“Could it be that thing teenagers get?” she asked.
Acne? I said.
“That’s it. I hope it’s acne,” she said.
“Because then it will mean I’m getting older,” she said.
Honey, a year from now you’ll be a year older, whether you have acne or not, I said. You’re as old as you are – and I’m in no hurry for you to get older.
I want you to enjoy this age while you can, I said, because once it’s over, you’ll never get it back. Being a teenager looks good in the distance to you now, and it will look good in the distance behind you once you’re past it, but most people find it terrible at the time.
“How can it be that terrible if it looks that good to everyone?” she asked.
Because most things look better when you don’t have them, I said. Everything's beautiful in the distance.