The Princess and The Pea


Princess Amelia lay down to sleep, savoring the day.

She recalled the details with delight. And why wouldn’t she? It wasn’t everyday that one was crowned a princess!

She had been unable to sleep the night before. The small rectangle of light coming from the slightly-ajar door was comforting. As were the shadows that flitted across it a few times. She knew she was safe.

Yet, something disturbed her and she had kept tossing and turning all night.

The next morning, Madame Orth had loudly bustled into the room at the first hint of dawn, followed closely by the dainty Monsieur Befort. They both seemed very pleased as they called out to her to rise and shine. She could barely open her eyes and wasn’t able to suppress a yawn.

Both the adults beamed at her and told her all about how she was a princess!

They were sorry for her lack of rest but the night had been a small test. Her restlessness proved that she was the lost princess. They had been searching for her for years and now they had finally found her. They were so, so happy. What a good turn of fate! The gods were smiling on them for returning the true princess of the kingdom to them!

But they mustn’t dally. Oh no, there was no time. They had so much to do! Come on, up, up, up!

And before she could take another breathe, she was whisked off for a tour and an introduction to everyone and to bathe and have her hair done and her face made up and dress. She went up the stairs and she went down the stairs. She shook hands and she curtsied (after Madame showed her how it’s done). She held in her stomach as they tightened a corset around her waist. The soles of her feet hurt as she was made to try on dress after dress after dress and walk in heels as high as she was herself!

Madame finalized a mauve dress for her, offset with lots of pearls and diamonds. The clothes felt luxuriant against her skin and made up for how uncomfortable her hairdo and shoes were and the jewelry scratched her.

She was really grateful once the feast was underway. Now all she had to do was sit in the high chair in the middle of the room and observe the festivities.

Everything around her twinkled immaculately, including the guests. As Madame introduced them, they deferentially bowed to her. Raised their glasses and toasted the return of their princess.

Her heart had thudded really loudly in her chest when the time came for the crowning. The ceremony otherwise was boring, with lots of chanting. She barely heard a word; her eyes were riveted on the tiara sparkling in front of her.

Oh, that was her favorite part, the way it twinkled in the light! And she was sure she shone with it!

She sighed contentedly and settled deep into her soft bed, trying to find the perfect position.

First she turned to her right. No. It doesn’t feel right. So she shifted to her left. Nope.

Hmm. Maybe she should try lying straight on her back. Arms crossed on her chest. Or maybe arms up behind her head? She could just tilt her head a little. Okay, what about on her stomach?

But no matter what she did, Princess Amelia could not settle in.

She had been unable to sleep the night before. The door was closed today and no “comforting” rectangle of light reached her. No shadows flitted across the room. She knew she was safe.

At least, she felt safe.

But in her heart, she knew.

Tonight was also a test and something disturbed her but it was not the pea.

It was not the pea and she didn’t know what to do. It was simple, she had thought.

Only now she realized it wasn’t as simple as that. And now, it was too late…

So she kept tossing and turning all night.

The Princess and the Pea

Image Source: http://bit.ly/18Dm2NP

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The Queen


The young Queen surveyed her guests contentedly. The ball was well underway. The musicians had struck up a faster tune and the dancing party had increased. She could hear the tinkling laughter and the clinking chalices. Feet shuffled  daintily as their owners twirled their partners.

The Queen

Occasionally, they would look over at her and give a small bow. At this, she would smile back graciously and give a small nod in acknowledgement.

The merriment wouldn’t end until dinner was served and it was almost time for the feast to begin. She was waiting for the gong to sound to descend and take her place at the head of the table. Her guests would then follow suit according to their positions.

She suddenly noticed a movement in the far corner. Sir Alex! He was cutting through the throng and seemed to be headed straight towards her. Her heart skipped a beat. He was too handsome and the Queen was very fond of him.

“Now, what did we talk about, Quinn?” he asked her.

“Oh, but daddy. I want to join the party. Please?” she tried to plead with him once more.

“My princess, you may, but when you’re a bit older,” said he, while kissing the top of her forehead.

With that, he scooped Quinn in her arms and carried her upstairs to her room to put the Queen to bed.

***

Image Source: “Little Girl Looking Downstairs at Christmas Party”

McCall’s, December 1964; oil on board, 10 x 10 ½ in.; Collection of George Lucas

http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/online/tellingstories/

Haunted


The man confessed. Confessed to being ‘haunted’ by a candle wick.

What?

But it was just a story. An abridged version of the story. And my teacher explained how he could be haunted by a candle and its wick.

Or at least tried to.

At the end, when it all made sense, it didn’t. It was clear that he was haunted by the candle and its wick considering how close to death he had come. Yet, it was only a candle.

Was it?

Now, faced with my own haunting candle wick, I believe. And I understand.

There are no ghosts. Monsters are a thing of the past. Memories are enough.