You used to wrap yourself in fairy tales like a blanket but it was the cold you loved. Sharp shivers as you uncovered the corpses of Bluebeard’s wives. Sweeter goose bumps as Prince Charming slid one glass slipper over your little toes, a perfect fit. But by the schoolyard, real princesses floated by you on fall winds. You saw the gulf between you and the rich girls and vowed to stop believing in fairy tales but the stories were in you, deep as poison. If Prince Charming was real, if he could save you, you needed to be saved from the unfairness of everything, when would he come? The answer was a cruel shrug in a hundred fleeting moments. The sneer on Stevie Smith’s face when he called you a fat cow. Uncle Jeff’s hand squeezing your ass in the Thanksgiving Kitchen. The accusation in your father’s eyes when you told him what happened. From every boy masquerading as a man that you let into your body, your heart, you learned you didn’t have whatever magic turns a beast into a prince. You surrounded yourself with the girls you’d always resented, hoping to share their power, and you hated yourself. And that diminished you even more. And then, right when you thought you might just disappear, he saw you. And you knew, somewhere deep, it was too good to be true. But you let yourself be swept, because he was the first strong enough to lift you. Now, in his castle, you understand Prince Charming and Bluebeard are the same man. And you don’t get a happy end unless you love both of him.
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