Iced tea always reminded me of my mother and her kind brown eyes.
Ma was always a loving creature; she’d often say what the world lacked these days was Love. She always looked through faults and see something ideal in every person.
When my father left us for another woman, we, Blessy and I, cried for dad and we stopped playing and smiling. Ma sat us down one rainy day with iced tea and said,
“Honey, let us be happy; your father isn’t our happiness. Happiness lies deep down in the heart and make sure no person, not even yourself, steal it away from you.”
I remembered nodding my head with a smile.
There were many sad occurrences in our life; but my Ma never broke-down. She was the strongest woman I had ever seen and she always had a positive things to say.
When she died one rainy day, iced tea near her bed rest, I was broken, but then I had remembered her advice and smiled through tears.
Apart from many advices and good words from my Ma, I always remembered one particular story. She used to tell the same story every day, when I was young.
It started like this:
Once upon time, up in the sky, there was a kingdom called Fairy-Land; a place filled with flowers and rainbow; it was a place where birds sang melodies, more beautiful than Taylor Swift and backstreet boys (She’d smile at that fondly; I loved them). The kingdom was ruled by a Just Ruler, King Hanson. There were never the sound of distress, nor the sound of pain. People lived happily.
It was an unoriginal story created by my mom; but I loved it for the way it gave me hope at night, when I was depressed and down. It was like my medicine, my boost tonic for surviving the next day.
One beautiful day when cloud bestowed snow down with gentle wind, the loving couples, Bitsy and Andre gave birth to a beautiful little fairy.
Unicorns were dancing in the snow, hooting the arrival of the new baby; new joy of the kingdom. Her eyes were the beautiful shade of lavender, extremely gorgeous and exotic. Her small dirty blonde hair were curly. She was the most beautiful creature one could see and since she gave them happiness, they named her- Bliss.
She’d then kissed my forehead and whisper: ‘You’re my happiness too.’ And as if nothing had transpired between us, would revert back to the story.
Bliss, though beautiful, was extremely delicate and according to Fairy laws, deformed; she was wingless. Her back was bare without wings; handicapped, in human words.
There were always people trying to worm you out of happiness; in the Fairy-land too, trying hard to erase the happiness from the heart of the little Bliss. Bliss became saddened by the fact that she didn’t have wings; that she couldn’t fly like others.
‘You’re not good enough to play with us.’ The little fairies would mock Bliss, when she went to play with them. They’d fly and taunt her to do so; everyday she returned home back, with tear streaks along her beautiful cheeks.
Time passed, and Bliss grew into a stunning young lady. Her once lavender eyes were now shades of violet with light purple, like a beautiful sunset. Her hair, a beautiful gold, reached her slim waist in natural waves. Now, the other fairies were envious of her looks; and they started to insult her even more of her physical disability.
‘I hate to go out.’ Bliss would often cry to her mom, but the mother always ordered Bliss to be happy.
She’d hug Bliss and whisper: ‘you’re beautiful the way you’re. Be happy and live your life; it’s your life and don’t let others to ruin it.’
Mom would stop at that and look into my brown eyes intently; saying words in silence. I’d hear every word clearly and would shut my eyes in defeat.
The flowers were in full bloom and the golden rays of the sun were sparkling through the land, when the yellow birds sang: ‘inviting cordially: King Huston and Queen Corydalis, for the banquet in the palace of clouds. Only young fairies are invited.’
There were pleasant sounds of surprise as young fairies prepared for the time of their life. In the corner of her garden, sat Bliss with her rainbow bunny, her only friend, when her mother found her and asked her to leave for the feast. Bliss didn’t want to, but she agreed, just to please her mom.
And so she went. The first day all fairies were treated with delicious food. The next day was what was more important, as the king had called for meeting with the fairies.
“Here are the golden unicorn’s eggs. You have to protect it and hatch it into a little unicorn. Come back to the palace exactly one month later, at the night of full moon.” And then he asked his servants to deliver the egg to all the young fairies.
One month later, the fairies gathered in front of the king, holding a golden unicorn close to them; Bliss, although, was standing there with a pink leprechaun, and was staring at all the other fairies with wide eyes. The other fairies noticed it and whispered to others,
“Not only she is physically disabled, she’s mentally as well; if the king asked you golden unicorn, that’s what you’ll bring, not a pink leprechaun.”
“Thank you for beautiful unicorns and one pink leprechaun.” The queen smiled and then stood up.
“What’s your favorite pet?” she asked everyone and every fairy named their pet. Some said it was a flying dragon; some said it was rainbow bunny.
“If I give you 10 pot of gold and a lucky clover, will you give up your pet?” she asked and every fairy nodded eagerly.
Bliss stood there rooted; her legs twitched as she looked up at the queen and said: “Pardon me, my Queen; but my rainbow bunny, Hade, is my friend. I can’t give him up.” She bowed in guilt and shame.
The queen waved it aside and smiled.
The next day they were gathered in front of a large flower garden. While everyone’s eyes clasped firmly on the prince’s silver eyes, one pair of eyes were staring behind him in dejection.
Out of nowhere, Bliss ran and jumped inside the golden lake and saved the little swan, which was drowning. Its leg was wounded and it couldn’t swim. When Bliss looked up, everyone was staring at her, completely miffed.
The next day, before the whole kingdom, the king, the queen and the prince were standing. When the fairies calmed down, the king stood up and greeted them pleasantly.
“I gave every one of you, the egg of pink leprechaun and you all brought back what I told, a golden unicorn. It’s not respect, it was falsehood.” He sat down and the young fairies blushed red.
“I asked you to give up your pet for pot of gold and you all did. That’s not mere desire, that’s greed.” The queen shook her head despondently.
“When I was with you, you all were trying to get my attention, that no one showed attention to the poor swan. That’s not courtesy, that’s cruelty.” The prince said with a frown and joined his parents.
“You all lack reliability, loyalty and kindness,” The King announced again, “except one.”
“And the kingdom needs a ruler who has this all; she needs to be reliable and honest; she needs to be loyal to her family and her subjects; and she also needs to be kind and thoughtful.” The Queen smiled and looked at the wingless fairy with admiration in her eyes.
“So, Bliss, will you marry me?” The prince kneeled in front of the stage, and held a small box with a glittering gemstone.
There was a hush in the air. The fairies who had once poked fun at Bliss were all stunned to silent. Bliss stood there, her violet eyes large and bewildered.
Bliss’ mom nudged her and she looked up at the handsome prince in awe.
“I’m not actually a fairy. I can’t fly.” She mumbled.
“I need a princess who can rule with me; I don’t need someone who can fly, yet didn’t have anything more than just wings. I love you, Bliss.” The prince said sincerely.
Here my mom would stop and look at me again, smiling cheekily. I’d smile back and say “it is cliché.”
“The story is not finished, yet, Victoria, so stop assuming.” She’d grin and roll her eyes.
“And they lived happily ever after. Mom, that’s how every fairytale ends.” I would giggle and pull my blanket up to my head, whispering good night.
“Yes, and no matter what your physical traits are, you are worth more than everyone combined with wings, if you have heart as big as Bliss. Hey, that’s the moral of the story, young miss.” Mom would chide with a smile and kiss me, before she leave.
Those were pleasant memories; memories that would put smile in my face, no matter what. My day-dream was interrupted, when Adam shoved my shoulder lightly and whispered,
“Hey go on, day-dreamer. They’re announcing you as the best employer of the year.” I smiled so big, put my iced –tea down on the table, got up, walked proudly to the stage and got my award.
“To my mom.” That’s all I said when they asked me to talk and I got down.
The night was bright with street lights, and stars shimmering above when I stepped out; the loud rush of vehicles disrupted the quiet surrounding. I stepped out and walked towards my car, hugging myself against the chilly wind, when my sister Blessy waved me from the other side of the road, in front of a café.
It all happened in a rush; cars buzzed past me; my leg got stuck in the garbage bag on the side and I slowly fell forward; the time slowed down as cars screeched to a halt, honking loudly. It was chaotic.
I could see my whole life flashing in front of my eyes. Yup, the cliché in every story; but true.
Mom holding my hand as she told the story; dad leaving us without even a good-bye; Blessy hugging me whenever she talked about relationship problems; Adam laughing at my silly jokes and kissing me fondly; and finally I closed my eyes shut in defeat.
Three day later, I was back in my room. Sitting at the window pane, reading a novel. I smiled at the cliché ending and closed the book shut.
We’re all hypocrites; we usually bragged that we hated clichés and wanted reality in the story. But, sometimes, all we wanted for ourselves was that cliché ending; no matter how many breaks we had faced, we’d still wait for the right moment, for our happily ever after.
The day was clear and the sun was bright in the sky; the birds were singing melodiously-well, I wished it was. But really, the sky was almost close to dark, and the sun was nowhere to be seen. The wind was playing havoc with the garbage on the pavement, and I saw him, standing in front of my home.
There was a guitar in his hand, and he was smiling at me, through the window. I smiled back, thinking to myself, ‘what’s he doing here, and that with a guitar?’
His beautiful eyes reached mine as he played the strings, effortlessly like a trained artist. I was awestruck; I knew he could play, but he never let me hear and now I couldn’t close my mouth, even if I wanted to.
‘They said you and I are not meant to be,
But I’ll do anything I need to do,
Be anything I have to be,
Just to have ‘you’ in my life.
Baby… I want you in my life,
In every moment,
So, will you be?
Oh, will you be with me?’
He finished the song and closed his eyes, waiting for me to respond. All I gave was a very big grin- I know it was big, well, because my lips were hurting and when he saw me, he gave an equally big grin; he looked creepy, and I knew I did too, but I didn’t care.
Adam and I, we go way back.
We were friends first and then lovers and he was the only one who loved me, irrespective of everything. He loved me for who I am, not who he wanted me to be.
I would have ran all the way to the front yard and hugged him tight and said yes; but, then I looked at my left leg that was free of its metal counterpart, with a small sigh.
I, according to human law, was physically disabled; wingless like Bliss; so, instead of running all the way, I waited for him to come in, looking at the metal leg that was broken during the accident, waiting forlornly to get repaired.
When he came inside, nervously biting his fingers, I grasped him by his hands and said the yes with a fierce kiss.
I too had a fairytale, with my own prince, and one day I would tell my children my story:
‘Once upon a time, there lives a leg-less girl…’ and would finish it, ‘they lived happily.’
Well, ‘ever-after’ was so unoriginal, if you caught my drift.