A Real Princess

August 27, 2013
So, once upon a time, and blah blah blah, there was this girl.
Such a cliche, right?

Anyways, this girl was of the typical princess-y sort. Kind and good and sweet and whatever. I’m sure that based off of the beginning of the story, you’ve come to the conclusion that this tale will be one where the girl has the perfect life, then has to overcome some sort of conflicting challenge against her dream, such as avoiding murder from her evil stepmother or chanting some completely random and stupid stranger’s name to save her firstborn child, before frolicking into the sunset in the arms of her Prince Charming, singing la-dee-da and living happily ever after. Hurrah, hurrah. It makes me sick just thinking about it.

After all, we all know life isn’t really like that. Not every single maid or miller’s daughter gets to spin straw into gold or be the belle of the ball. It doesn’t happen that way. Kudos to all the moviemakers for building up a false security for every little girl who ever wanted the princess movies to translate into her life. Let’s face it, every little girl at some point, has always wanted to be the princess in a Disney movie. It’s only natural. But naturality doesn’t change the cold reality of life. It’s hard to accept it, but it’s true.

This one girl was that believing, trusting girl. The Disney princess girl. She had soft waves of ebony black hair and pale blue eyes, much like the foam of the sea, with a pepper spray of freckles across the bridge of her nose and angled, rosy cheek bones. She had long, slender piano-playing fingers that she used to do everything from watercolor to tree climbing. She always wore a red ribbon around her neck, anchored by a rusted copper antique key the size of her pinkie. She wore it in belief that she could be the key to everything- to someone’s smile, for someone’s happiness, and everything else you could think of. Her grandmother had originally told her this, when she had first found the key in a notch of an old apricot tree in her grandfather’s orchard. She told her how great her potential was, how she could be the key to unlock anything, and how she should use this potential to unlock the good things. And this girl knew and felt this to be true, so she followed this sentiment with the whole of her heart. But life has a way of changing things.

Grandpa died. It tore her heart out to be separated from his laugh, his curling, slanted handwriting, his teddy bear hug, his shirt pocket full of Mentos and bubble gum, the smell of his cologne, the crinkle in the corner of his familiar sea foam blue eyes behind his silver wire rimmed glasses. He was her hero, and he was gone. And without him there to protect the orchard, the secret he kept of the ever-growing debts was suddenly known. The bank foreclosed the orchard, the one paradise this girl had. Grandma grew old and grey and battered in a matter of days, and soon grew too depressed to take care of her girl. The princess dream was soon forgotten as Grandma was put on life support in a “home” and the girl was sent off to live with her dad, since her mother had died in childbirth.
Father was not exactly the parental type. It was painstakingly apparent why the girl’s mother left him so very long ago as the ever intoxicated Father continued to beat his girl, yanking her by her hair, slamming her against walls, leaving bruises and cuts only long-sleeve t-shirts, boots and long bangs could ever hide. She was constantly starved, from the lack of unspoiled and uneaten food and lack of money spent on her father’s booze. By this time the girl was in high school, another unfortunate mistake. She was constantly ridiculed for her baggy hand-me-downs and messy hair and skinny boyish frame, never noticed for her talent of music and art or college-worthy intellect. And- even worse- there was even more than a few nights where she’d be trapped by her own male classmates and be forcibly touched and handled in such a way that would make her want to scream and die all at once, but her own dry throat and a clammy, unfamiliar hand stopped her. She was left in the dark feeling dirty and worthless. So while she was abused at home by brutal force, she was abused at school by a ferocity only known by other high schoolers. Nothing ever went her way. But she took it each moment of the storm calmly and quietly, never sharing her grief, much like a princess would, even though she was robbed of her love, her heart, and was slowly losing her last few threads of hope. Until, that fateful day, where she lost everything completely; when her one treasured keepsake, her key, was stolen.
Her once beautiful pearly sea foam blue eyes were red rimmed and bloodshot, darting at every unexpected noise or movement; her once silken ebony hair now tangled, knotted, and chopped at odd, uneven layers that covered her face. Her world had lost its color, much like the sickly pale tone of her skin, and had faded away into nothing more than a nightmare. She floated through her sad days much as a ghost would, haunting her school halls, playing melancholy tunes on an invisible keyboard on her lap, keeping sheltered in her mental concrete wall of feigned ignorance and cold, dejected sobriety. The walls came tumbling down as her key necklace was ripped from her neck and into the hands of an unknown stranger, never to be seen again. She then realized how little her existence was worth. How no one noticed, thought, or cared anymore- and she knew she didn’t, either. She no longer saw herself as a key- she could no longer find the potential or worth her Grandmother said she had. She saw nothing. She felt nothing.
No one noticed the new scars on her emaciated arms and hands, or the clean, fresh cuts on her sharp cheekbones. No one saw her pensive, reddened eyes turn suddenly colorless, hollow, and lifeless. And a couple scarcely noticed when the disconsolate young girl was gone. This time for good.
She had gone too far. One cut with a broken beer bottle glass to the wrists was all it took. She was found on her poor excuse for a bed, moldy and too small and worn for her growing, changing body. The cotton around her was stained red, still wet and fresh and teeming with the life and energy that had once fueled the soul of the tragically beautiful girl. The picture looked like a rose opening, enveloping the pale, wintry fairy girl into its petals, curling her into a warm, cruel sleep, her inky hair running over the pillow in one last fleeting hope of living. The mildewed minty green wall shone a brilliant orange in the sunrise over dark finger painted words stained there. It was that exact spot (on the wall facing the only window in the room that was currently capturing the rising sun), where she had stolen words from some of the many poems she had memorized, and in her own blood wrote;

“Fare the well!- thus disunited, Torn from every nearer tie, Seared in heart, and lone, and blighted, More than this I scarce can die.”

“There is nothing to trouble any heart; Nothing to hurt at all. Death is only a quiet door, In an old wall.”

And in one lone corner of the wall, where the blood ran thin, and the font was its weakest, she had written;

“When dreamless rest is mine I shall not need, The tenderness for which I long tonight.”

She found her happily ever after. Just not in the way most princesses would.

But she was the most realistic, the most beautiful, the most amazing, headstrong princess there ever was. And not even the cruel course of humanity could take away that fact.

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