Daily Prompt : “And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?
“What do you mean, ‘and they lived happily ever after?’ what about, What are they going to live on? How are they going to raise their children? I mean….maybe he’s catholic and she’s a Jewish American Princess….Did they talk about any of this stuff before deciding to get married? …it just can’t be that easy.”
I rolled my eyes, I was never going to get Sasha to go to bed.
She was the toughest of my babysitting gigs. Six years old and already a post-modernist prodigy and heavily influenced by realism and her own motivation to find a career. Sasha’s parent’s were economists, and always somewhere in the midst of seperating, divorcing, no back together again. Between her parents marital status and Dr. Phil reruns, she could open up her own marriage counselling services.
I sighed, be patient with her just be patient…she’s never had a childhood, really.
“Okay, do me a favor. Tomorrow morning, write down all your questions about what is ‘Happily ever after’ and we’ll rewrite this fair tale or write a new one the next week. How’s that?” and before I could let her get in another peep, I said, “And you’ll be the princess.”
Her eyes widened…..maybe I’d gone too far. This seemed to make those little gears in her head turn even quicker.
“Now, it is time for bed.” as I turned off the lights and kept the door cracked just a bit. With so many concerns about the world and where it was going, she was still afraid to be in the dark.
The following week, Sasha’s mom needed my services again. Throwing a bookbag over one shoulder and pulling on some cheap sunglasses, at 19 I had something every mommy wanted, time.
Sasha was there kneeling, in front of the TV, as usual watching Dr Phil, Jerry Springer or some other crappy TV show. I think these shows just exist to remind the rest of us how easy we have it. But not for Sasha, it was her classroom of life.
Her mom gave a quick peck to Sasha’s pale cheek, muttering, “I’ll be home by 9:00 and no liquids after 7:00 please!” and ran out the door before I could remind her I needed to be paid in cash this time. Damn, another check.
I flopped back into the couch with my bookbag at my knees thinking at least I’ll get paid to study Biochemistry tonight. I sat there for a minute wondering if I should interrupt her meditation. I think she is absorbing every word, every glance and tear shed on this show. I really feel sorry for the kid.
“Hey, you remember last week, when I read you that fairy tale?”
“Well, I thought you’d be excited I was coming over and we could write our own together.”
“I’ve done it.”
My eyes sharpened on the back of her blonde head. “What do you mean you’ve done it?” I wasn’t entirely unhappy to hear this.
“I wrote it already. Really, I got on the computer and wrote it, printed it too…..it’s over there on the table. Commercial’s on…..I gotta pee.”
As she ran out the room I glanced over and saw a sheet of paper on her tea table. Curiously, I glanced at it.
“Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess. She lived with her mother the queen and her father the king in a castle on the edge of the village.
One day, the princess decided it was time for her to move out of the castle, get a job and be her own person. So she got a job, and a car and went out with her friends every night.”
This was sounding all too much like the story of her mom.
“One day, while the princess was ordering everyone around at work. A prince came to sell her some crayons. (really crayons? okay we are talking about a 6 year old’s world) and he really liked her even though she was bossy.”
I know she is talking about her mom now! I smiled as I read on and heard the toilet flush in the background. “Did you wash your hands?” before I heard a reply, the sink was running, “Use soap this time too!” I yelled towards the closed door.
This kid’s really got a great vocabulary for six. Heaven help us, I can’t imagine her as a teen.
I read on, “He smile at her and she smiled at him. And they knew, and they lived happily as they could ever after.”
Wait, wait, wait! I thought…..where is the saving of the princess? where is the wicked witch or dragon or even a troll? They just lived happily as they could? This couldn’t be her story, I looked on the back of the paper to see if there was anything else. No, just blank.
Sasha was running back, “did I miss anything?”
“No, but I am a bit confused…..I thought you didn’t like ending happily ever after.”
I don’t, that is why I wrote “they lived as happily as they could ever after,” turning back to the screen, settling back into her spot, “and that is the best anyone can do.”