A long, long, long time ago, a young woman loved to read books. So much so that every Friday on the way home from school she would pick up 10-12 books (tomes to everyone else) and deliver them safely on a Monday on the way back. In the house during the week, the only books available were Mills and Boons or Barbara Cartland. (I shit you not!!)
So the young woman would read books of depth and interest in the 48 hours of each weekend and during the week her mind would be filled with “happy ever after”. You know the type… where on page 20 they kiss, page 45 they have amazing sex, page 60 they fight and page 70 they have made up and are getting married, and the book ends on page 72…
It took a while for the young woman to realise that this is not how romance actually works. There is no tall, handsome man with unlimited funds just waiting to whisk her away to a life of luxury, plenty and no worries. In fact, most men resemble pond frogs ~ full of slime and noise and little else.
What was she to do? It was not as if she could prick a finger and sleep for 100 years, or even bite a poisoned apple and get a bunch of short men to place her in a glass coffin. This is of course the 21st century and dragon guarded castles are mostly in ruin thanks to the freeloading of local peasantry. Gone are the days of looking down your nose at those at the base of the tower.
So once the notion finally sank in, that the men of Mills and Boon and dear old Barbara were merely figments of some prosaic and frustrated women (and some men), she set about making her own “happy ever after”.
She found a job, worked hard to rise up the ranks, often sacrificing relaxation time in order to learn a new skill. The young woman worked on her tone, her voice, her bearing and her ability to roll with the punches. Every bad day she took full on the chin, even if she did cry at home in the bath! It took time and effort and many, many nights of tears and stress, but she got there in the end. Independent and able to pay her own bills, but most importantly able to buy any sparkler she chose for her hands. No waiting on a man!
More than that, our young lady, learned to say no to the slimy frog. The woman inside her actively sought out a man (and sometimes woman) who would challenge her and make her think, who would complement her and her values, who would love her and fight with her and give her fairytales to ponder. They did not have to be pages long, sometimes a chapter or even a paragraph carry more weight than an entire book. Some fairytales were ensconced in a simple sentence.
Her happy ever after was created, not given, out of her sacrifices, out of her desire to stand up when so many wanted her down and out of her desire to be more than someone who needed to be whisked away, forever hidden from life. Her happy ever after meant she stood tall and stood out, and only those not scared of her light would come close.
But of course, every now and again, she would dine on frog’s legs, as after all, they are a delicacy!