Its a bit windier than I thought it would be. Things are starting to pick up out there and I want to be doing the same. I feel like I’m in a fairy tale and I am so goddamn sure of a happy ending. More sure than I have ever been. I believe that love wins the day and I’ve felt that truth and beauty and honesty are the shields of heroes and heroines, not the weapons of fools. I believe that the sun will rise and set in dazzling colours over commonplace people doing commonplace things, with nothing more extraordinary or wonderful to do than love one another. I believe this to be true. And I have felt it.
But right now, the happy ending seems far away. In fact, I may only know it exists because of these glimpses I keep catching, reminders of old VHS memories. I haven’t reached the castle. I still can’t sing. The lost princess hasn’t been found. Its that moment in between. When the heroine wakes up from the idealism of her childhood locked in the tower or sequestered under the sea, but hasn’t yet found her freedom, hasn’t found a way to break the spell. It’s Rapunzel, having felt the grass under her feet and the wind through her long golden locks, only to be dragged back to the tower. It’s Cinderella, having danced with the prince, only to end up back in rags. It’s Pocahontas, having seen that peace is the only answer, but with Kokoum dead at her feet, what can peace really mean?
It’s Aurora. Briar Rose. It’s that moment, that birthday. One year older and suddenly, you start to see that the world isn’t so gentle and benign. The cottage in the woods was an illusion. A trick invented by three jovial old fairy godmothers with only the best of intentions, but a trick all-the-same. The real world existed right outside the edges of this forest, and I didn’t know it. There was pain and suffering, a kingdom sick at heart and losing hope, but I lived on my days with Flora and Fauna and Merriweather, blissfully unaware.
But the outside world broke in, as it is wont to do. And the forest rejoiced as it did. The beauty and love and diversity of this great big globe came spilling in along with love and hope and dreams I’d never imagined. The birds sang, the animals danced, and my heart felt light to greet this brand new world that had been waiting for me to awaken. It was a moment made of gold. But the outside world brought along its shadows, its thunder, and its storms as well. The old raven came into my gilded forest and chanced upon my hidden bower. His old wings rewarded those sixteen long years of searching for my naivety and he reported my location to the darkness. In one day, I went from child to woman. In one day, life brought me love and Maleficent.
And thats where I remain. The kingdom has fallen into a slumber akin to death. And you don’t get to read the end of your own story, so I can’t know if they’ll awaken. I shake their shoulders, shout into their ears, beg and plead for them to open their eyes. Wasn’t I just entranced with this wide world’s beauties? I swear, I just felt the thrill of the unknown. But now, I feel alone. I’m in a kingdom full of the sleeping dead and I’m the only one to walk its darkened cobblestones. It is only my tears which darken its dirt. And I’m tempted by these spindles. By the promise of creation, or at least escape. Its glowing green and I know, oh I know it must be bad. But its the only thing alight in this place. And that makes it hard to ignore.
And you? Where could you be? We were supposed to meet at the cottage in the glen, but is that even real? When I opened my eyes, did I blink that cottage of my childhood innocence out of existence? How do I warn you, when I’m still so new to this world myself? I’m afraid you were trapped in the same darkness that lies over my kingdom, the same darkness that threatens to take hold of me. I’m afraid Maleficent will do worse than kill you. She’ll hold you captive and suck you dry. The life in your eyes, the spark in your words, the beauty in your fingertips; she will wait until you are empty and broken, until love is just a word you know. Then you’ll be released from the chains, but never released from the hell of your prison. You’ll wander the world, finding it just as asleep and empty as the darkness suggested. I’m afraid Maleficent will teach you to despair.
But should you despair? Should I? There is more to the story. I know its there. I can see that I’ve barely scratched the surface. There are so many pages left to turn. Just because they made the mistake of hiding me in the woods, doesn’t mean that the good fairies were wrong to believe. The world needs more people who believe. But I’m not allowed to skip ahead. I can’t ask whether Philip will find his way through this forest of thorns. It seems an insurmountable challenge when you’re in the thicket and can’t see an end. But I promise, oh God, I promise, there is an end. And if you keep fighting, maybe we can win back the kingdom. Maybe truth and virtue will be our shield. Maybe we all come to happy endings. Maybe. Only time will tell. And eighty-eight minutes is a lot longer than you’d think.