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I will not be Cinderella
My mother once told me that fairy tale princesses could only live in fairy tales. Even so, my favorite, most adored story was always about the miserable girl wearing tattered clothes who could only look at the gorgeous balls from a distance. Then one day, her fairy godmother changes her into someone amazingly beautiful called Cinderella. I always ardently dreamed of becoming that Cinderella in my picture book.
~16 years later~
“Move to the side! Incoming!” I yell as loud as I can, without getting into a dilemma.
I maladroitly make my way to the public bathroom stalls and I ram open the door. The days of being the most popular and best liked girl in the entire school are well past my time. My head goes down into the sordid lavatory bowl. Shaking, I dab my mouth with my quivering fingertips, trying to cover up the tang, but an urge comes up and I sadistically thrust my head, once again, back into the basin. With the perfect boyfriend, body to lust for, and money to burn, I was the true Cinderella idol in everybody’s eyes.
I chuckle bleakly. How could I, someone that was so elite nose-dive to something less than scum?
True, back then I worked for that perfect body. I must have done thousands of crunches to maintain that flat stomach. I worked out at the gym for 2 hours a day to keep myself lean and striking. That’s how Riley, the hottest guy in junior high, came to be my beau. I push my black cropped locks away from my pallid skin. You could say I had the perfect life, until my mother passed away and my dad took in a new spouse.
I flush the toilet, and leave like a ghost, possessing no sense of touch in my body. I contemplate to myself, ‘This is the third time I’ve hurled today.’ My hand obscures my mouth as I saunter imperceptibly along the dim-lighted corridor. ‘How long is this going to persist? I’ve lost at least 10 kilograms in the last fortnight.’ I don’t remember the warmth of my mother’s weathered hand on my cheek anymore.
Three years ago, my mother suffered a heart attack and died. My father took in a new wife about a month after his mourning along with her 2 daughters, Olive and Peony. In pain of losing a precious loved one, my father threw himself into his work rather than caring for his only daughter, me Ileana. Our family used to have a fortune, but when my step mother and step sisters came into the house hold, they avariciously kept the money for themselves and I was left with not even a speck of dust to inherit. I walk the 2 hour hike home. All the money I work for as a cashier in ‘Foodie Market’ is taken away. I don’t even have money to procure transit fare.
After my stepmother took away all the money, the boys stopped chasing me and my friends looked down on me. They weren’t friends at all; they were only chasing my assets. I’m called the post-it-note girl at school currently. People put post-it-notes on me for orders at lunch, or to do a small errand for them, that is, a 50% history paper. How can I decline? I’m Ileana the nicest lass in school. Either way, I’m scared that they’ll ditch me just like my father did. Although I don’t want bogus associates, I don’t want to be isolated. I’m alarmed when I can’t see my in front of my face. My mansion is in front of me and my feet ache; but nevertheless I’ve felt harsher pain. I set foot in the household building.
Olive looks up and flicks her limp chestnut hair edgily, “Ileana! Where’ve you been? My socks and runners need to be washed you know.”
Peony swings her feet off the table without passing a glance at me, “Can you renovate my room? Pink got really old last week, so I’ll need a light magenta with garnish on top!”
“Yes of course.” I mumble warily. There’s no point arguing. This is what I’ve been doing for the past 3 years.
“Ileana,” My stepmother faces me. “We’ll need our halter dresses to Riley’s party this evening.”
My heart skips a beat hearing his name, but then I remember that it’s not my place to think like that.
With her nose in the air, she continued, “You do know that only the wealthy are allowed right? Stay home and cook us pasta to eat along with Triple Grade A beef and very soft mashed potatoes.” Stepmother pauses, “remember to warm our beds, and get the foot massager ready. We’ll be bushed when we come back.”
I nod without the slightest murmur, and prepare the dresses.
At 8 o’ clock, the threesomes leave without a thank-you.
I plop myself into the nearest chair and wish for something to come true; something that can change me. I want transform but there’s still some uncertainty in my mind. Before I get up to prepare my stepmother’s and step-sisters’ meal, a little green fairy pops in front of me. It opens its clear emerald eyes and asks,
“Do you want to go to that party tonight?”
In my head I think ‘no’ but the fairy continues, “I’m your fairy star; you’re watcher. I look over you in the sky. Only when you’re in desperate help, shall I come up.”
I open my mouth to declare ‘I don’t need this’ but then isn’t this what I’ve always wanted from the start? A manifold of dresses have already been spoofed onto me, by the time I stop mulling over, but I don’t have the courage to say that I don’t want this. The little fairy states,”You know, you have a pretty good figure and an amazing face. Why don’t you use it? Don’t you want to be liked and popular?”
Without hesitation I explain,”I don’t have to think about that statement. I don’t want spurious friends. I mean, money can be received and given by people every day. Golden friendship lasts forever. I don’t want a superficial and petty relationship with people that can only fake emotions. I don’t like the theme of greedy people.” The fairy didn’t seem to understand, so it just continued to dress me up just like a doll. Flawless makeup is flushed onto my face. I end up looking like a skinny crimson raspberry, but the fairy has already spoofed me again into a noir Rolls-Royce driving to the party.
When I get there, I linger at the doorway and I find that the ladies are actually giving me envious looks. The gentlemen look at me up and down. My cheeks wash out a little bit. It turns out that I’ve forgotten how it feels to be the Cinderella of the show. Riley comes up and gently links our fingers together, pulling me onto the dance floor. The crowd parts like the Red sea.
Riley marvels, “Is this you Ileana? It’s been so long! I barely recognized you. You look a million times more beautiful than before! Was that a Rolls-Royce that you pulled in from?”
Suddenly, my head stops spinning from being paid this much attention. Riley was asking about money? This was too fake to be real and I was feeling stupider than ever. I smile sweetly and say, “Oh Riley, are you going to go on and on about MONEY? This is what I exhausted my time on?” Before I leave, I slap him straight on across the face.
I was wasting my time with him and everybody else. This isn’t what I initially wanted. Before I leave, I shout to the ladies and gentlemen, “Back OFF! I’m not going to be your doll anymore! Neither am I going to be your servant! Keep your sticky post-it-notes to yourself!”
Coming home, the fairy asked, “How was the party? Oh it doesn’t matter! You’ll have boys falling to your feet soon enough! We’ll just have to make you a little richer and then we’ll buy you all the big brands to fill your closet!” I flick the fairy away, “I don’t need your help anymore.” The green ball disappears along with all of my frills, leaving me to wait home for my step mother and stepsisters.
This was my story. It turns out that my mom was right from the start. Fairy tale princesses can only live in fairy tales. I won’t be Cinderella. I will be Ileana, nothing more and nothing less.