the encyclopedia of a new life
A symbol of redemption. I started to heal when I started drawing them on my paper, putting them in my room, wearing them as a crown, taking pictures of them among the grass.
Lines were what ruled the last three years: lines walked on the brick wall, lines skated shakily in ice, lines scratched into your skin, lines at a movie theater, cropped lines of your hair, lines of a sad song that I memorized because of you, lines of poetry I write about you. I always wondered at parallels.
When people bring you milkshakes even though they didn’t know you were sad that day.
I love sweaters. I spend nearly all year waiting for sweater weather. When it finally comes, I buy new sweaters and find my old ones until my drawers overflow and I have to stack like ten of them on the floor. I pull the sleeves over my hands and bat at people like a kitten. Sweaters are old friends, hugs in a piece of fabric. The only problem? Lint.
I was in a thrift shop one time when I found some old photos. Happy couples, dogs racing through meadows, girls laughing. There were several photos of a windowsill of an apartment, and it took me a while to realize there was a bird on the sill. It made me smile, thinking of someone frantically pulling out their camera and snapping all those pictures when they saw that bird. There was a life behind the camera that took those pictures. Someone discovered a songbird on their windowsill one sun-soaked morning, and now I was discovering them in a store one city afternoon.
Once Upon a Time...
or the story of the ugly princess
Once upon a time there were a king and queen. They lived happily in their castle, and they loved each other more than anything. They were kind and fair rulers, and their kingdom adored them. They had been married two years when they had their first child, a daughter. They were overjoyed, and gave her a name that meant “princess,” so she'd never forget her identity.
The girl grew up happily, with hair the color of sunshine and wide honey eyes. She didn't cry. She loved everyone. And everyone loved her. They knew she'd grow up to be a beautiful princess.
But she didn't. Her hair became darker and knotted, and never behaved properly. Her face stopped lighting up with smiles and became ugly, covered in unwanted marks. She cried nearly every night. She had friends, but they all secretly whispered about how ugly she was. Everyone tried to persuade her to let them change her face, but in the end they all knew it would do nothing.
The princess always dreamed of finding her prince. But in her dreams, monsters came to her and whispered that she was too ugly to find true love. She wasn't the kind of princess that princes would fight to rescue.
From her palace window, she watched beautiful maidens pass by. She hated everything about herself, watching them walk. She hated how she wasn't delicate. She hated that she had to stare at her face in the mirror every morning, more of a witch than a princess. She even hated her name, reminding her that she was meant to be something she couldn't.