I was never told a fairy tale. I was 8 when I first asked mother what a fairy tale was. I still remember how her face turned white as a sheet. I then ran to Granny. Wasn't she supposed to tell me one?
She too turned grim. Who could I turn to? My childlike desires were too frivolous for father. He'd look exhausted and worried all the time.
Disheartened, I went to my friend. What she said had intrigued me no end. It's a tale that has a prince, a princess and a happy ending, she explained. Amused and amazed, I wondered why my family considered it improper for me.
Few years passed. I was a teenager now. And I'd started to make sense of their reticence. After all I was no normal kid who could indulge in the fantasies of a happy ending. I knew that now. And inevitably others did too. I practically had no friends.
I was 15 when I had my first crush. Isn't that the age when the real essence of fairy tales creeps up on you? But it was strange how boys my age always maintained distance from me. Was I untouchable?
Years went by. I was living a normal life now. Pretty normal. I had all that a 25-year-old could require to survive. Yet I was lonely. With time I'd built walls around me. Walls that comprised fear of rejection. But something pricked me. Why my life was far from a fairy tale?
I went to mother and asked her outright, 'Why do I not get to feel like a princess? Why do I not deserve a prince? And happy ending...will I ever get one?' My eyes were full of tears.
She smiled, her eyes prostrate yet scintillating. 'Come...sit here.' She gestured. I abided, still fuming. She leaned back. 'Once upon a time there was a girl...a beautiful little girl. She was the apple of everyone's eye. But fate played its card and she fell sick. A dreadful disease it was, but little did it know that the girl was not only pretty but strong. Stronger than anyone ever imagined. She fought, struggled, and rebelled against God's decision. And she lived. She won. She conquered fear all by herself. Without a prince. She earned her happily ever after...and, dear, ending is still far away. Why worry about it?'
I nodded. My lips curled into a smile. 'You're right, Mother.'