My most recent Prince Charming, has been just that, charming. We started out like most Prince and Princesses do, with correspondence. There were no wax sealed love letters, but there were several highly anticipated emails. Our first date was amazing. It was fun and relaxing and silly. I laughed more than I had with any other prince in a long time. I still smile when I think of it. Our second date was even better. I think the thing I fell in love with about Prince Charming, was how flawed he was. Just like me. My Princess gown has been mended more than once and my tiara is a little dusty. Prince Charming’s armor was a little scuffed but I saw what he had been through to get here, not how much he needed to clean up. Neither of us came from great royal backgrounds. We had worked hard to achieve this level of imperialism. I felt like we were both able to honestly say “this is what I have to offer, tattered clothes, rusty armor and all.” I’ve been courted by my fair share of princes, most of whom came baring their shiniest chainmail and sharpened swords. This Prince was so much more handsome to me.
And so we started down our road to Happily Ever After. It’s been a long road to travel in a short period of time. It has had wonderful but short miles paved in gold, but a majority of our walk has been spent tripping over weeds while making our own path. It’s been hard and I’m a very stubborn Princess; I’d like to think it’s because I’ve kissed so many frogs. I’m certain that the more amphibians I’ve put my lips on, the easier it has been to see the keepers. That doesn’t mean I’m always a joy to travel with. I wouldn’t call me Princess and the Pea picky, but I have my moments.
So because our road has been fraught with ghosts of Princesses past, and dragons of a scary future, my Prince and I are at a crossroads. To the left, visible on the distant horizon is a castle. From what I can tell, it’s a fixer-upper. It looks like it needs new windows and the moat is a little swampy. But it beckons me with the feeling of comfort, the feeling that with a little extra love, it would be the castle of my dreams, a castle where my little princes and princesses could run outside and play in the sun, a home where I could hang up my dusty tiara alongside my Prince’s worn shield. I can tell the journey to get there will be long and I certainly cannot see all the potholes, but that horizon… that horizon looks so glorious.
If I look to the right of our crossroad, I see an open field of possibility skirting the edge of a darkened forest. Daisies of new beginnings and tulips of sound decisions blanket the open meadow. There are no risks in sight, and while it has an air of peacefulness about it, it also breathes of loneliness. Just beyond lays the forest. It is foreboding and smells of uncertainty. It’s definitely not a place where you can travel in pairs. I can’t see through the thick branches to make out what could be at the other end. Perhaps it’s a nicer castle? Perhaps it’s a mountain of gold and silver? Maybe it’s the other side of Happily Ever After, or perhaps it’s just more forest.
The caveat of choosing left or right is a cruel riddle. If the decision is made to go left, it is made by both. The trail, be it rocky or smooth, must be traveled with someone. I would mean comprise and it would mean planning. To go right, would mean choosing to go alone. It would mean more tatters to my gown and more mud on my slippers. It would mean more frogs. It would mean no more Prince to slay my dragons or catch me when I fall. Though I’ve never been a Princess who yearns to be rescued, the imagery has always been alluring.
I’m here, now. I’ve argued the pros and cons of each to my Prince. His hand lies ready on his sword, but I cannot tell if he means to unsheathe it to continue on to the left, where he’ll use it to thwack through the weeds and trim down the vines towards our castle, or if he means to draw it when he turns right, to prepare himself for the uncertainty that his forest brings.