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Rapunzel Retold

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There is a window beside my table. It opens out to a beautiful green hillside, the grassy valley in which my tower is situated and a vast sky. I can also see just the top of the forest somewhere behind the hills. I have looked out of it so often that I know, each time before I look out, exactly what will meet my eyes. I have every little insignificant detail memorised, every point imprinted in my mind.
The valley is uneven, and sprinkled with wild flowers. There is a crystal clear brook winding its way across it, starting from someplace behind the tower; presumably it comes from one of the hills. But this is the only window I have, so there is no way of knowing. If I crane my neck very hard, I think I can almost see the origin of the brook- but not quite. This has always bothered me.
The hills stand like fortresses, or guards- the barriers between me and the world. I know it is them that have ensured my safety, kept my existence a secret for all these years. Should I be thankful to them for it? I do not know.
The hills lean into each other slightly, almost touching. Sometimes when I hear the wind, I imagine them to be two very old friends, laughing merrily. I wish I had a friend, to tell me what everything is like out there. I want to know- no, I want to see what exists out there, out of my window’s reach and beyond these hills and this valley and this sky. I want to see it, and feel it, and smell it, and touch it, till I can no more.
I often look at the sky. It offers the greatest variety, I suppose, that is why I like it. Sometimes it is a clear blue, sometimes clouded grey, sometimes shaded red and orange by the sun. at night too- it could be black, blue or purple. Sometimes it is filled with tiny, glittering stars- I like these nights most. I count the stars, trace pictures in them or simply gaze at them till their beauty overwhelms me. On nights like these, sometimes, I stand by my window and sing. My songs are not meant for anyone to hear. They never have been; they never could have been. But sometimes, I just want the hills, the trees, the stars to hear me, to acknowledge my presence in some way, any way. I do not want to die here in confinement and loneliness, without anyone having realised my existence at all. I do not like feeling unimportant. It is a flaw; one I do not want.
I have considered escaping more than once or twice; in fact, I think about it almost every day now. It was not always like this for me. Once upon a time, things were different- but I do not remember. I can never recall anything different or special at all, as if my life started this way, in this tower, between this hills. I believe I can leave if I want to- after all, what binds me? - but I cannot. I know why. It is because I am afraid.
I am not afraid of the outside world, or of anything that may be in it. More than anything else, I am afraid of going out there with dizzy, fairy-tale dreams and expectations, and then finding…. nothing. I am afraid that the disappointment will crush me, and leave me with nothing else to live for.
All this time- I am not even sure how long it has been- I have clutched onto these thoughts and dreams to motivate me, to keep me living. I told myself every morning and every night that someday, I would be ready to go out there and do everything that I have ever dreamt of.
I live each night away in wild plans and schemes, and then while away the day in sober realization and fear. My entire existence has been swallowed up in this unending indecision. I could give in to one option and live an eventless life, or I could choose the other, while taking an immense risk.
I could choose to stay. I could choose to go.
I am afraid. But I am also brave.
I choose to go




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