Cinderella lived happily ever after with the charming prince who wouldn’t rest until he found the maiden whose foot fit in the glass slipper. Sleeping beauty had a happily ever after with the handsome prince who wandered by and found the sleeping maiden, thus pressing his lips against her hand to wake her from a century’s slumber. Fairytales… the lies they fill children’s heads with…
I can only think of so many fairytales I read as a child that ended with, ‘and they lived happily ever after’. Then again, that’s why we call them fairytales; happily-ever-afters are only as real as fairies are. It hasn’t escaped me that I would be ruthlessly bursting the bubble of any kid, who stumbles on this post but sadly, I only speak what is true.
Almost all the fairy tales I read as a child, all the cartoons I watched/still watch, like a recent edition of Rapunzel (tangled) I watched lately where the girl with shiny metres of gold locks finds her happily-ever-after with the thug who saves her from the lone tower she had been imprisoned in by her witchy stepmother, led me to believe in a happily-ever-after.
Then later as I got into teenagehood I developed a strong liking for soap operas, which graduated into an addiction. These soaps revolve around love and deception as the main themes, and somehow almost all of them end with the main female and male protagonist together, in their own happily ever after.
As my sisters and I got glued to the TV, watching soap after soap, dad never understood why we wasted so much time following programmes, which in his opinion, enslaved us because when they started we had to drop whatever we were doing just so we could watch them. He just never did understand why, and after trying to explain it to him unsuccessfully we gave up trying.
The reason we spent so much watching them was because they gave us something to hold on to. Even when stuck in meaningless relationships with guys who weren’t willing to commit, the knights in shining armour from the numerous fairy tales we’d read and the Alejandros from Latino soaps kept us hopeful that the best was yet to come.
Regrettably, as I look at the life mom leads, I feel the little flame in me going out, and I’m not sure there’s much I can do to rekindle it. I look at her life and I see unhappily ever after. She spends sleepless nights, tossing and turning in bed because the man she chose to spend the rest of her life with, in what she hoped would be marital bliss is the same one who locks the light out of her life.
What does one do, when they wake up and realize everything they believed in was just a lie? When they realize that the person they hoped to enjoy a happily-ever-after with is the same one they can’t stand? When one realizes that a happily-ever-after is only a figment of the imagination concocted by creative writers, in a bid to spread optimism.
Valentine’s day is only a few days away and even though there’s a part of me-the child in me-that still believes in prince charming, fairies and pixie dust, I feel a happily-ever-after is like the sighting of a lake of water by a weary traveller walking under the blistering sun on stretching miles of bare, scorched ground; just a mirage in the desert.
Happily-ever-after could be real, but it’s a rare gem. How do I know that? Because I haven’t met anyone who lives happily-ever-after. Once that marriage band is slipped on the finger, people stop pretending and resume their real insufferable selves. They become everything one detests-in most cases. It’s like the ring snaps couples out of hypnosis; the promise of happily-ever-after, pulling them back out of their daydream, reminding them, that is when unhappily-ever-after begins.
In my opinion though, a happily-ever-after is not entirely impossible. I think of a personal resolution; if one wants something really bad, they will get it. There will be odds lined up, succeeding each other along the way, but if both partners crave a happily-ever-after, they will achieve it. Mom’s living her unhappily-ever-after, but from my own observation, if her prince-my father-tried just a little bit hard, they would find that coveted fairytale ending; the happily-ever-after.