When Ernestine was little she was as vain as vain could be. She always had her hair curled and her dresses were always clean and she was always in front of that damn mirror, like she could just not believe how beautiful she was. I hated her. Since she was nearly four years older than me, she considered me beneath her notice. We fought like cats and dogs, or maybe it was more like two bitches.
All of a sudden, it almost seemed like from one day to the next, all that changed. Sis got tall, for one thing, tall and skinny. She took to wearing slacks and tying up her hair and she started reading books like books were going out of style. Whenever I’d come home from school and she was there, she’d be curled up on something, or lying on the floor, reading. She stopped reading newspapers. She stopped going to the movies. “I don’t need no more of the white man’s lying shit,” she said. “He’s fucked with my mind enough already.” At the same time, she didn’t become rigid or unpleasant and she didn’t talk, not for a long time anyway, about what she read. She got to be much nicer to me. And her face began to change. It became bonier and more private, much more beautiful. Her long narrow eyes darkened with whatever it was they were beginning to see.
James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk.