Happily Ever After
You ensconce yourself in fairytales the moment you open your eyes.
They meant everything, because they were everything, at least, as far as you knew.
You dream of magic, true love's kiss, and fantasias at night.
At day, you read about princesses, dragons, and wicked witches.
It's simple for your mind to formulate a conclusion about how the world works.
You form it clearly in your head, and soon, it morphs from a thought to a belief.
"One day," you declare, "just like everyone else in the world, I'll fall in love, get married, and have children, but no more than two. Then, after living a happy, long life, I'll die a natural, peaceful death, and I'll be remembered even after."
Surely, you think, bad things don't happen to good people. That's just not fair.
To you, "happily ever after" wasn't some unattainable pipe dream, but a beautiful reality.
You see only what you want to see, what others want you to see, and you later realized that most people, even the grown-ups, are like this.
You watch your cousin wrap an arm around his girlfriend and you call it love, not seeing him grimace as she talked of eventual marriage and children.
You look at the young couple eating pastries in the cafe and perceive the woman’s forced smile as a real one, not noticing the bruises peppering her body.
Your parents smile and laugh and kiss each other good night and that’s what you think love is: smiling, laughing, and kissing good night every night for as long as you live, because that’s all you see.
You don’t see the hurtful words they shoot at each other like bullets.
You don’t see the impact they have, the piercing wounds they leave as evidence.
You don’t hear the quiet sobs late at night, nor the murmured words of comfort that follow.
You see only the good. Most children do, you think.
You wish your life was a fairytale, and for a while, it's easy to pretend.
However, like all of the children in all of the world, there comes a day when you can no longer be called a child.
You grow up.
You see past people's elaborate masks and disguises.
You trust, but not easily.
You love, but not effortlessly.
You let go of the idea of "happily ever after," and the moment you do, the fairytale inside you dies.
Your mother misses your optimism.
You tell her that optimism is a fool's gambit, and that you prefer to be realistic.
There's no such thing as magic.
There's no such thing as true love.
And certainly, there is no such thing as happily ever after.
Still though, your mother's eyes shine when recalling her first date with your father.
He was the most handsome man in the world, she tells you glowingly.
She's always said this, and you've always regarded it with skepticism.
You think she's just complimenting him or being nice, because your father is good-looking and all, but he's definitely not the most handsome man in the world.
And then, one day, you meet the most handsome man in the world, and you understand.
He gives you color, light, all the good things you had lost when you lost your innocence.
Quickly, at the drop of a hat, the fairytale inside of you is awakened once more.
Your inner child squeals with glee, "You found your prince!"
He surprises you, challenges you, makes you laugh, and that brings you to life.
You love him effortlessly.
You trust him, for he has no mask for you to look past.
And after all those years, you reconsider the idea of "happily ever after," because finally, you've reached it.