And they lived happily ever after, or so it was written in that damned book.
Right after the ‘r’ of after was pronounced, he got a phone call and retreated to his room. She was left standing, staring- feeling like a fool for believing that characters in books got happy endings. What a lie perpetuated by authors! They minimized their Word document when it was convenient and then closed all of their Google Chrome tabs of secondary research. But the characters lived on.
She lived on, watching him spend more and more hours at work. Their fun, quirky dates? He just didn’t have time for those anymore.
“Grow up,” he said. “You’re not in a fairytale anymore.”
And so she wasn’t. Her friend, the “sidekick”, got into a university in Paris and left a month later. Now all they saw of her and her witticisms was from the girl’s Facebook Page.
The birds, who had lovingly folded her laundry, had migrated north. She sighed, as she gathered up her laundry and waited for him to get back home. She’d already curled her carefully brushed locks four times that day and read five chapters of a book called Freakonomics.
Just as she was about to turn on the fan, just to have something to hum along to, the doorbell rang.
She took her time, unlatching the top bolt as slowly as she could before curling her fingers around the doorknob. And there he was, tired looking and irritable as always… this man she had once called her Prince.
“Hello, beautiful,” he said, without emotion and walked in without so much as a glance. She couldn’t stand it anymore.
“I hate it here,” she said, loudly and clearly and he looked up with genuine surprise.
“Here? You mean our home?” he asked.
“It doesn’t feel like a home. Only I live here. You’re practically nonexistent,” she spat, and he took two steps back.
“How else will I provide for us? The wedding, and the mouthwatering tarts and freshly roasted chicken and candied apples, or whatever, alone cost us a fortune! I’m working for us,” he said, looking at her in the eye for the first time in so long.
“I could get a job too,” she said. “That would lighten the load on you. Did you ever think of that?”
“No,” he said, flabbergasted. “You’re far too… far too princessy for a-“
“Please,” she scoffed. “It beats whistling to myself and singing songs all day. Please let me help you. It hurts to watch you disappear like this.”
His eyes softened, and it struck her that the last time they’d kissed was in the last page of that damned book. It seemed to have dawned on him too as he bridged the distance between them, enveloping her in a grateful embrace.
As he held her, she was overwhelmed by how his touch alone melted every bit of the anger and frustration she’d felt only a few minutes ago. She could drown in those arms and she’d feel more than content. He circled her back to where she thought it had ended, but that had only been the beginning…that happily ever after.