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SAD in May — Day Fourteen

May 15, 2014

prompt: write your own personal Cinderella story

 

Happy Ever After

By Lori Carlson

 

            In the hill country, a small village was situated between a railroad and a lake. Lacy lived in this village with her parents and a sister and brother. Her sister was a horrid flirt and her brother wanted only luxury. Lacy was the middle child and often ignored, except when she was in school with the other village children. There she was tormented from morning until evening when she would hurry home to the sanctuary of her bedroom.

            When Lacy was thirteen, her sister eloped with the King’s gardener. After that, Lacy’s Wicked Mother turned all her attentions on to Lacy. Her clothes were never right, her hair always unruly, her shoes too worn or not worn enough. Each day she left home for school feeling miserable because she knew the kids would gossip about her.

            “Look at her today. She thinks she’s a china doll.”

            “Good God! Did you see those shoes?”

            “Her hair is nothing but sea rags!”

            Lacy endured it all in silence, day after day. She wished she knew why everyone hated her so. She was quiet and never caused trouble. They mocked her at school and her Wicked Mother and brother mocked her at home. There was no escaping it. Only her father said the occasional nicety.           

            During the summer of her fourteenth birthday, the King’s son, Prince Donald, made his way through the village. All of the girls dressed in their best gowns and ran to the village square to greet him. Lacy had no desire to go, but her Wicked Mother demanded that she dress and attend because, “I will not have another of my daughters marrying below her station!”

            Lacy stood off to one side of the village square. She watched all the hoopla. When the prince strolled over to her, she did her duty of curtseying and smiling at him, but her heart wasn’t really in it. He stayed there at length talking with her until Lacy was sick of the pleasantries. He finally left her and she let out a long breath. Since she doubted he would return to her, she left the square and went back home, loosening and untying bows and frills as she walked. By the time she got to the house, she ran to her room, dropped her gown and put on a t-shirt and overalls. Her Wicked Mother was livid.

            Life settled into the same dull routine as the years flew by. Lacy was dressed and pampered, then mocked and ridiculed. She spent less and less time in her parent’s company when not in school and more time at the lake with a new friend she had made. With her friend, she could be herself. No pretension. She was free for those few hours a day.

            During the summer of her sixteenth birthday, the King declared a Ball to find a wife for his son, Prince Donald. When Lacy received an invitation, her Wicked Mother was thrilled. Her daughter was a prospect wife for the Prince! Lacy complained for days that she didn’t want to go, but her Wicked Mother wouldn’t hear it. A dressmaker was commissioned and a gown in the finest lavender silk was sewn. It was fashioned with pearl beads and delicate lace. When dressed, Lacy stood before her mirror. Her hair was tamed with curls and pearls. She had on her gown and long white lace gloves. Around her neck was another string of pearls with matching earrings. On her feet were white satin slippers. She felt ridiculous. Her Wicked Mother clapped her hands and laughed. She was more excited for Lacy than Lacy was. In fact, Lacy wanted to dive into her bedroom and never come out.

            Her Wicked Mother attended the Ball with her. As they entered the ballroom, her Wicked Mother presented Lacy to the King and the Prince. Curtsies and bows were exchanged and her Wicked Mother led the two of them into the middle of the ballroom.

            “Now don’t be a wallflower, Lacy. You will never catch that prince’s eye by leaning against a wall,” her Wicked Mother said as she moved on to join other mothers at a nearby table.

            Lacy moved to a secluded section of the ballroom. She didn’t lean against a wall, but she was not in clear view of the dance floor either. It wasn’t long, though, when she began to hear whispers around her.

            “Good God, that hair!”

            “Look at that dress! She wore a balloon!”

            “Why is she even here? Does she honestly think the Prince would choose someone like her?”

            She’d heard most of it all before, but there was one truth in all they were saying, why was she there? She had no desire to marry the Prince and only came because her Wicked Mother made her. Lifting her head high, Lacy walked past her tormentors and out a side door. She made her way to the gardens in the west courtyard, found a bench and sat down. She sat there looking out into the darkness until she heard footsteps and rustling behind her. Lacy turned her head and smiled. A figure walked around the bench and sat down, clasping hands with Lacy’s.

            Lacy had a secret.

            She was in love with the Baker’s daughter and the Baker’s daughter was in love with Lacy. This was her Happy Ever After.

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