Cinderella was supposed to be beautiful. She couldn’t be Cinderella. The teacher asked, “Who would like to audition for the role?” She felt her heart fall down. Even if she was brave enough to try out, the others would laugh at her audacity. A fat Cinderella could not exist.
The mirror was her enemy. She looked at it rarely. Tonight, she promised to look at her face because people said she was pretty. But she would try not to look below the neck. So she did just that until her sister remarked, “Isn’t that dress too short for you?” She looked down and cringed. Life would be so much easier if she looked like the other girls.
It wasn’t easy being the oldest. She often wondered about her expiry date. Watching two much younger siblings transitioning to ashes had torn her heart. “Enjoy your life,” said her friends. She tried to follow their simple advice, living with her memories. From the little utensils that they’d play with, to the painful last days. Was it guilt for being alive? She longed to be with them again.
She felt more than she said. Her heart was at her fingertips and in her eyes. Some nights, she’d ask herself if she’d rather feel less intensely. As the tears wet her pillow and brought on a deluge of painful thoughts with it, she accepted the truth. Of course she preferred to feel a lot than to feel too little.
Her taste buds didn’t welcome chocolate these days. Fruity desserts made them happiest. Greedy bites of lemon tart were another new habit. “But he’s made chocolate cake today. You know you want it,” said her mother. Suddenly, the thought of his weak hands making her childhood favourite filled her mind. She was craving chocolate again.
It wasn’t like every day. She wasn’t use to being surrounded by a room full of people. In fact, she abhorred the thought of it. But she saw herself dressed up and confident, walking her way up to the podium. Her anxiety had disappeared. She heard herself speaking into a mic. Then she heard applause. And then the dream ended, so she ran back to her solitude.
Flowing pink waves. The soft fabric caught her eyes. It was a routine window shopping session but her hands were tempted. “Would you like to see it?” The store assistant played with her weak mind. So she touched it. She stroked the pinkness until she felt like it was a part of her. Later that night, when sleep was on its way, her eyes opened wide; her late aunt had had a similar shawl.