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Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Glass Slippers, If You Please

Sometimes you just need to step out from reality to find your own...

Ever since I was a little girl I have been an avid reader with a penchant for fairy tales. There is something magical and romantic about those tales, and I became enraptured with the concept of magic and spirits and such. As childish as it sounds, my love for fairy tales is pretty much what keeps me sane throughout my coming-of-age and adulthood, and consequently shaped me into who I am today. Being mocked and not accepted with peers at college? It's okay, they're just peasants with suspicion towards the heroine. Love lost? No problem, the true prince always come at the end provided that you stay true and kind. All the trouble and misery was nothing to me. I will have a good cry about it, break a smile and told myself "You can do it", and I always can. In the stories the heroine's misery will eventually ends, there is no reason my misery will stay forever. Armed with this thought, life for me is a never ending game with each day brings a new story or two (or even more).

One that is particularly dear to me was Cinderella, the Rodger and Hammerstein's musical version to be exact. When I was in elementary school the TV station in Indonesia aired the 1965 version over and over again, and each time it always enthralled me. My favorite song was, undoubtedly, "In My Own Little Corner". It was a fun song that showed how Cinderella escaped her cruel life through her imagination, a common theme that I eventually adapt for my own life. Granted my life was (and is) not cruel, but it is always a wonderful to know that I can escape it when it became too hard through my imagination. A particularly harrowing day can be a great adventure trying to conquer the enemy, and in the end instead of sulking over it I can raise my head high and declare: "I killed the dragon!". Well, not out loud of course. I don't want dragons overheard it and thought I am such a cruel person, even though the word kill is only used to the broadest extent and absolutely not in literary meaning. See how much fun you can get by imagining things? :)

Yet days gone by so quickly and the memory eluded me. It was not until recently when I casually browse for the complete play that I remember everything once again. The pretty white dress with faux fur accent, the meek yet attractive way Lesley Ann Warren played her Cinderella, the sneer on Stepmother's face, all down to the funny song sang by the Stepsisters, which easily be my lamentation throughout my youth: "Oh, why would a fellow want a girl like her / A girl whose merely lovely / Why can't a fellow ever once prefer, a girl whose merely me?". I smiled and laughed and having the greatest time ever as I watched the performance through my little laptop screen. Then came the climax when Cinderella arrived at the palace and met the prince. My heart stop and then resume full a-flutter as I have always been every time I watched that scene, yet this time it was for a completely different reason. Lesley Ann Warren's expression in that scene was all too familiar for me, not because I have watched the play for countless of time, but because I have had that expression before.

It was not the night before Christmas, but on that day I felt like it. I was full of anticipation, wide-eyed and maybe a little scared. Or as Cinderella aptly put it: "You are breathless / With a wild anticipation / Of adventure and excitement / And romance". The night I met my husband will always be a night to remember. Just like Cinderella, I made the decision to go to the 'ball' to meet my prince. Truth to tell, as with any online dating he may be a prince or a psychopath; but I took the chance anyway and I have not regret it ever since. What a lot of people don't realized is the awesome thing with Cinderella (any version) is that she dared to wish to go to the ball, and when she got her opportunity she seized it. She may not slay dragons or changed herself into sea foam, but sometimes daring to take the slightest step forward or even to dream it is the hardest challenge. That's how I feel that night. It could go horribly wrong. He might not like me. I could be heartbroken or bone-broken, depending on what psychopath he is (if he was indeed one). But I wanted to do it. I wanted to go and take my chance with him. Even if it's only to have someone talked kindly to me and laughed with me for just one night. Even if it's only to realize that I am not so alone in this world for just a few hours.

Just like in the play, when we (finally) see each other for the first time the time seemed to stop and when we finally in each other arms the world seemed to melt into nothingness. The question "Do I love you because you're wonderful / Or are you wonderful because I love you?" did not even register in my head. I loved him. He made me happy. That was all that matter, In the following weeks, months, and years the glitter in our eyes slowly fade away, and we started to see each other for who we really are. It's almost like 'breaking' into a new car: the sweet new smell faded away and replaced with the faint smell of the smog from the street, the car interior always seemed to have crumbs and minuscule stains here and there no matter how hard you try to clean it, even the engine sound less pleasant and (dreadfully) more tired than it is before. And of course the inevitable question will eventually come: do you like the car enough to keep it or should you move forward?

With us being married, the answer seemed clear: we're keeping each other. Even so, I am not stupid enough to believe that things can last forever. Spells will break, and glass slippers can shatter, there is nothing certain in this world. The question now is do I care? I do not believe in happily ever after, nor do I believe that story and tales will come to an end. No. Stories and tales lived on forever. Each day is a brand new adventure, and each sunrise is a brand new beginning. That night when we went to watch Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella Broadway Play live at Ahmanson Theater I looked at my husband's face smiling and chuckling with delight thanks to their great performance, and I know my tale is far from ending. I put my head on his shoulders, wrapped my hands over his arm, and I started to hum in tune with the song they performed on stage: 
"In the arms of my love I’m flying
Over mountain and meadow and glen,
And I like it so well
That for all I can tell
I may never come down again!
I may never come down to earth again!"

The night might end, my story may have a surprise ending, yet it is still far from completion. I could care and be worried and frightened of how my story would end, but the fact remain that I can not see into the future, not even a second or less into the future. Then why should I dread myself? Happily ever after is never a goal, it is only an end to a successful life-changing journey, a reward you get for all your hardship and perseverance. Life is a story: enjoy it, embrace it, and write it according to what you want. Live it, dream it, love it. Good night fellow dreamers. See you in another story. 

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