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Silly Love Songs
When other little girls stopped believing in Santa Claus, I stopped believing in Prince Charming.
Before this revelation, however, I was a shockingly normal little girl: pink-loving, ballet-dancing, vegetable-loathing, and mind-bogglingly cute.
And like most kids my age, I fought with my siblings - in this case, Ellen, my twin sister. And the Halloween we were five, we both wanted to dress up as Cinderella.
Ellen said she should get to be Cinderella because she was twelve minutes older. I said I should get to be Cinderella because Ellen always got her way because she was twelve minutes older. Then Ellen said she should get to be Cinderella because her hair was lighter by, like, half a shade (it wasn't). So I said I should get to be Cinderella because I looked better in blue (I didn't).
Five minutes later, my dad discovered the battle royale rapidly escalating in our room and forced us to resolve the issue as democratically as possible: with a game of rock-paper-scissors.
So the Halloween I was five, when Ellen got to be the most adorable little princess ever, I was stuck dressing up like a dog.
Even though this might seem like a mere trifle of an incident, I'm pretty sure it left lasting damage on my psyche. Because during the kindergarten class costume parade, when Andy Carter asked Ellen if he could be her Prince Charming and I looked on through the eye-slits of my suffocating basset hound costume, I realized something.
Andy Carter wasn't Prince Charming.
In fact, I was fairly certain that Prince Charming was entirely fictional.
As I grew up, the universe only seemed determined to reinforce my theory. Like when I dated (read: sat next to at lunch) my first boyfriend in sixth grade, and he cheated on me (read: held hands) with another girl during art class.
Or my family's three-divorces-and-a-funeral fiasco the summer before I started high school.
So by the time I was a teenager, I was a little bit on the cynical side. It's not like I was one of those people who abhorred Valentine's Day, declaring it a collaboration by Hallmark and the devil to promote single awareness. My favorite color was still pink, and I liked a good chick flick as much as the next girl.
On my seventeenth birthday, my best just-a-friend David showed up at my door at precisely midnight, roses in hand. I looked at him standing there, grinning in that crooked, dorky way that I loved so much, and it hit me that finally, twelve years later, I had caught up with Ellen. Somebody wanted to be my Prince Charming.
And my breath caught in my chest. Not in a romance novel kind of way, either. In an I'm-on-a-plane-that-is-maybe-certainly-definitely-about-to-crash kind of way.
Because I knew that roses didn't mean anything, or fix anything.
And that if I took those roses, three years of crooked grins, late night phone calls, and sideways glances would suddenly become something more. Something that, in high school, at least, was a lot like a Halloween costume.
I mumbled something about it's a school night, I have to be in bed, see you tomorrow, thanks, and shut the door. Leaning against it, my respiratory system kicked back into gear and I shut my eyes, tight.
Who did Walt Disney think he was, running around making movies where everyone lived happily ever after?
It wasn't like true love actually existed, anyway.