Once upon a time, Prince Charming, the smooth young DJ with the all-time best style, sent Cinderella a text asking her not to contact him anymore.
Cinderella was at home, hanging her crotchless stockings up to dry.
But the text sent her to the side table with the cigarette case, and a little lie-die on the divan.
“Fuck,” she breathed, inhaling.
She’d seen this coming, of course. Prince Charming had been a wreck ever since the evil stepsisters had him framed with a domestic violence rap, and no matter how much Cinderella told him she loved him, he’d developed an almost predatory mistrust of women.
The drinking certainly didn’t help. And the DUI while on probation had only furthered his pain.
The stupid happily-ever-after was a set-up. Everyone knew that. And Cinderella had been willing to sacrifice that ideal a long time ago. But she was really hoping it wouldn’t come to this.
The second text came through.
“I never meant to hurt you. Take care, Cinderella.”
“You didn’t hurt me, you dope. Why are you so hung up on that?” she hurriedly texted back.
She knew why he was hung up on it, of course. He was fucking Prince Charming. He wasn’t exactly meant to fail his woman.
But relationships were complicated; love had its pitfalls. How interesting would a perfect man really have been, anyway? Cinderella knew herself well enough to know she would have gotten quickly bored, sought out a situation with more texture and dirt.
“I’m glad I didn’t hurt you. Take care.” he texted again.
Cinderella tried calling. No answer.
“Pick up the phone,” she texted.
“I can’t,” he texted back.
“Pick up the phone,” she texted again.
“I’m at work. Please stop,” he responded.
The likelihood was that he was not at work.
Cinderella and Prince Charming had not seen each other for three weeks, but last night he’d called her lusty and drunk, and subsequently sent her a series of photos of his flaccid cock.
Cinderella closed her eyes, remembering better days.
“Am I your boy?” he’d asked her, one night.
And she lay next to him, wondering if she didn’t want more of a man.
But then she’d looked at him, all sleepy and adorable and warm. And she was so overcome by her love for him that when she let out her yes, she almost choked on the word.
Cinderella was at a loss. She didn’t know what to do. Eventually she called a few close friends, in search of comfort.
“It’s not like there is just one guy who can do it for you,” Sleeping Beauty told her. “Just think of this as an opportunity to fuck around.”
“Do you know how many good years I’ll never get back?” Sleeping Beauty answered. “Trust me on this one.”
The next call followed a similar storyline.
“What choice do you have?” Beast asked. “What are you going to do? Go crash his door down, trap him in your presence?”
“Do you know what I’d do, in your position?” Beast asked.
“Send him a text that says, ‘you’re a douchebag and a coward.’ ”
Cinderella sighed. It wasn’t her style to shame someone who was trying to do right by setting her free.
“You’re cutting out, Beast,” she lied. “Let’s talk later.”
Cinderella hung up. She didn’t know what she’d expected her friends to say.
They all had their own problems.
And she was too embarrassed somehow, to try to explain to them that even with his downfalls, Charming was still the most beautiful man she’d ever known.
Too ashamed to admit that she didn’t know how to walk away.
Mortified, honestly, to say out loud that she thought she might love him unconditionally.
“What do you think this is?” they’d ask. “A fucking fairy tale?”
Cinderella’s phone chimed and she slavishly checked it, hoping for a message from Charming.
But the text was from Rumpelstiltskin.
“What you got going tonight?” he asked. “Just wanted you to know I’d be up for spinning some of that golden thread.”
Cinderalla rolled her eyes.
“Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Blow Me,” she texted back.
And then, in case he’d misunderstood. “Fuck off, Foreskin.”
Cinderella drearily rose and walked to the back garden, where her cancer-ridden fairy godmother was loaded on mmj.
“How you doin’ Helen?” Cinderella asked.
“Stoned out of my gourd!” her fairy godmother cackled back. “Get it? Gourd? Like a pumpkin carriage . . . Wait, is that funny?”
Cinderella kissed her fairy godmother on her sweet, bald head.
She wasn’t long for this world.
None of them were, really.
Which is perhaps why it was so hard to let go of true love.
But fine, Cinderella decided. Not every girl gets her Prince Charming.
She looked at her phone and composed the text.
“Okay. Bummer,” she responded. “You take care, too.”
Cinderella laid back in the sun with Helen, reached out and held the precious woman’s hand, and listened for the tinkling sound, as the other glass slipper fell.