Thursday, 13 September 2012

More tales of the princess

How do you deal with the fact that, just maybe, they don't like you? Do you lie in bed with your eyes drawing constellations on the ceilings, darting for Ursa Major and Perseus? Are you weak and weeping and done?

The princess closes her door and pulls the snib right closed. Sits on the floor with crossed legs and wet tissues like paper boats sailing shipping routes round her feet. The people do not love her. There is no prince with a dandelion headdress waiting for her hand. Once she was a real bitch and the consequences fill her drawers like dirty laundry, like too many two pence coins on the desktop, like used loose tea clagging around the plug.

How do you rule a town whose heart has turned to spit and sawdust? Does your voice keep steady when they hiss and they thud? Are you crumpling in your stomach, is your appendix wild with pain?

The princess was young, you see, and it is easy to be a dope when you are young and a princess, it is easy to think you have gold and greatness bubbling in the cauldron you keep in your tower. When your hair is field of rapeseed the summer's done with chastising, when your skin is soft soft softer than lips and silk. Of course, silk comes from worms and there are all kinds of things wriggling in this garden. Of course, she made mistakes and this is why teenage princesses should never hold the keys to the city, for they're bound to go out and dance and swim in a lake and lose them in the gutters, in the first glass of sweet desert wine, in the mulch at the bottom of the pool.

Did you ever think that maybe it's your fault? Do you ever question the heft of the questions you ask, do you ever decide they are elephantine and impossible and too much for her to hold above her head?

The circus came to town and the strongman lifted the princess up above his head with barely a grunt. The strongman's head was bald and his eyes seemed kind and he didn't ask, he just lifted. He always just lifted. 

Listen: I have a soft spot for the princess, I confess. Kindness smooth on your tongue as a pebble. Step back, place your rocks back into the dirt.


Let your hearts bobbin and spool.

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