Behind the Glass Slippers: Ch. 1
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting my fiction piece from my thesis. For those of you who don't know, my thesis was on the importance of fairy tales and how they served as cultural critiques based on the time period they were written. Then, I wrote my own fairy tale based on a problem in the society we live in today: anxiety, depression, and the stigma set against people who suffer from those, as well as other mental disorders. I did a retelling of Cinderella, from the point of view of both Ella as well as Prince Charming. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
For as long as I can remember, I have been the perfect prince in everyone’s eyes.
I suppose that it is only natural. As the King’s only son and heir, it is in my blood to be a leader. They say I was gifted with a calm demeanor and quick thinking that will get me far when it is my time to rule the kingdom. In a way, I guess I am glad that this image is the one they see when they think of me. So young, handsome, charming, smart.
A real prince charming. I believe some may even think that is my given name. And to them, and the version of me that they see, that is a name well suited for him. So confident and self-aware. This image of a prince that they see and think they know. But, that prince has been gone since my mother died, my father quit being a father, and I became utterly alone in this world.
While the kingdom may be pulling for their Prince Charming to become their leader one day, Prince Theo on the other hand, I’m sure no one would want as their prince. With no siblings and only a handful of people my age in the castle as I grew up, I was really all I had. My father did try in the beginning, doing his best with me after my mother passed. But, I think we both knew that the Queen would have been better at the being a parent. He was a king, a monarch.
While he may have been lacking in the father department, King Thomas was a great ruler. The land had always prospered for as long as I can remember. Not to say he didn’t have his fair share of problems, but he always knew how to handle them with courage and grace like a king should. I was in training to be just like him when I took the throne.
The throne. This castle. The place I have called home my entire life has only become darker in my eyes, but perhaps that’s because I shut myself into that dark tower room more than I care to admit. The flowers that I once looked forward to seeing bloom in the gardens seem gray and dull to me now. The rich colors of burgundy and gold throughout the castle don’t seem as grand as it once did. It feels like a trap, a tunnel caving in on me.
Even my father couldn’t see the difference in Charming and Theo. If only my parents had given birth to one other child. Then maybe things would be different. If even one thing was changed, maybe my mother would be alive. Perhaps the constant feelings that overwhelm my head and chest throughout the days and nights would disappear. Maybe I would remember what being happy—truly happy—was like. No amount of sunshine or women could give me the feeling I have long forgotten. The more I put on this façade, the more I hated myself, the more I hated those around me. These are the people that have known me my whole life. How can they not see me screaming, crying on the inside, begging for someone to notice? How can they not see that this isn’t who I am, who I know I used to be?
No matter what internal struggles I was going through as Theo, Charming had to be in top spirits at all times, especially lately. Father has been on a different kind of rampage than his usual, “Why isn’t my food ready?”, or, “Where is my drink?” This time it was more, “My Charming, why aren’t you married yet, boy? Your old King is getting grayer by the day and I have yet to even have grandchildren, an heir, to spoil. If your mother were here…well, she would find it unacceptable.”
I knew it was only a matter of time before he did something drastic. Regardless of my pleading to marry whom I choose, perhaps even for love like he did, he was relentless in my marrying and soon. I can only imagine what he has up his sleeves.