Damsel

I never was one for dreams.

I preferred the real to the fantastical, and refused to hear of fairies and kingdoms and far-off lands. It wasn't right, I thought, to waste one's life on foolish daydreams instead of striking out and living whatever reality holds, no matter how bitter it may be. I thought there was no reason whatsoever to subsist on fantasy and forget what life is.

But that's not what he said. He said that life is made up of dreams, and that they flavor the soul and color the spirit, but I never believed any of that, I just smiled and nodded and forgot all his nonsense. He wanted to be my knight in shining armor, the one to protect me from harm and prove to me that fantasy could be real, but I told him that I was a perfectly capable female character and needed no knight to save me. Besides, I said, knights weren't really chivalrous.

He'd just groan and ask me what happened to my childhood. I grew up, I'd tell him, and it was about time he did too.

Eventually, he did grow up and he gave up on trying to tame the shrew, having realized, once and for all, that Shakespeare's stories were only stories and couldn't ever really come true, and walked away to find some other damsel in distress who actually needed saving. And I told myself that I never had needed his help, nor had I ever wanted it.

After all, I never was a damsel in distress, I could help myself and keep myself on my own two feet, and needed no white steed to come galloping at his call to bear me away to some castle. I'm no sleeping beauty, no snow white, fairies don't exist and I never needed him anyway.

I thought I was going crazy when I missed his laughter or chiding jokes. I thought I was going crazy when I wanted to ride a horse into the wild. I thought I was going crazy when I wanted to be saved.

After all, I never was one for dreams, was I?

That's what I told him, and that's what he believed. I only wish I still did.