by Chukwukwe Eugenia Adaku
The fairy tale is always sweet, always naive, always drenched in sugar and overpowered by the stench of flowers, just so that a five-year-old can believe in them.
I don’t want to admit that I catch myself thinking that fairy tales are true. But I do, when I’m washing the dishes and the sun streaks through the windows on a warm Tuesday afternoon, and I realise how I don’t ever want to feel alone.
I know that in the Real World, no prince will come and save me, and no prince will kiss me back to life. I just have to wake myself up in the morning, keep myself busy throughout the day, and try not to cling onto anything with a heartbeat and words that are nice enough for me to imagine being carried away on a horse and carriage by them. In the Real World, there is no fairy godmother waiting outside for me once I’ve finished dusting the shelves. I just have to make myself some tea, watch TV under a blanket and try not to feed my itching hand, as somebody texts me back. It won’t be a happy ending.
In the Real World, things crumble all the time. My heart can collapse and I can slump into myself and sulk and feel like ripping the clouds apart. Later, I can feel happy again. Earlier, I would have felt happy. Things change and move around and things are not as stable as fairy tales where whatever happens will always happen. The guy will search for the girl after the party once he picks up her shoe; he will find her and they will live happily in love. In the Real World, I might get a couple of texts back after a drunken kiss at a bar. Then they’ll slowly simmer down to a few texts a week, and I’ll never see that person again.
I guess all I’m trying to say is that I want to slide back into my childlike body and convince myself that fairy tales are possible, and that ten years down the line someone would still feel like kissing me out of a coma or searching for me through the crowd from a lost shoe, or sucking the poison out of me from the bite of an apple.
I just know that in the Real World, fairy tales are fairy tales, and that I shouldn’t hold onto that text message, or those words, or that smile, because tomorrow I’ll feel like kicking myself for ever believing in the fairy tale I realise it all was.