Today’s post is free flash fiction by guest blogger Edith Follansbee.
I’m so infuriated by my mother. Why is she non-supportive of my feelings? I have told her so many times, I don’t want to go to the prince’s birthday party. I have made a fuss about the dress and the shoes and everything else that you MUST do to get ready. I hate the dress and the shoes. You can hardy call them shoes; I call them ankle breakers.
The constant criticism of my figure when I go to the dress makers. She is always making negative comments of my curves. What really bugs me is the clicking sound she makes with her mouth very time she has to let out a seam. I can’t help it if God gave me a slow metabolism. I tell her beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I have not found my beholder. Even the dressmaker is non-supportive of my feelings.
The only person that understands how much I abhor fancy dress parties at the castle is Cinderella. She is so kind to me. I know she wants to go so badly, but mother won’t let her. Mother has no feelings for Cinderella. Sometimes I think mother is too narcissistic to find another man that will please her. Her first husband died in mysteries circumstances and her second husband died of overwork. She has no feelings for anyone except herself.
The true reason I don’t want to go is that the party makes me feel different. I’m not like the other girls in my town. I want more to life than being my husband’s wife. I love thinking about music and growing things. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of being a wife and mother, but under my terms. When I’m in my room, I’m thinking about a project where I can make some money and get out of my mother’s house and out from under her thumb.
I want to be the first woman farmer that owns her own farm without a man. Well . . . maybe at first then share the responsibility together. Woman can do and have done things just to live, to feed their children, to better their homes. I want to prove to myself I’m strong and capable. Patience is the key, just like growing plants. I don’t mind working hard if I feel satisfied at the end of the day. My mother laughs at my dreams. She thinks there is one way to be happy in life.
I have never gone on about men like my older sister, Anastasia. She is crazy for the attention of men. She lives for the moment: She is like my mother. Live for the moment, enjoy the emotional ride, feeling like you own the world, take what you want and leave. My God, so heartless.
Heartless is what all the men say eventually after mother is through with them. Anastasia and I have a step sister from my mother’s second husband. Cinderella, that is what my mother calls her, because she is afraid of her. Cinderella is beautiful and perfect. Mom married him because she always needs a man to make her feel beautiful, the ride. She used to light up when he came into the room. She laughed at all of his dumb jokes. He gave her a hug every time he came home from work.
Mother thinks he ran off with another woman, but I know he died.
One night he did not come home. Mother thinks he ran off with another woman, but I know he died. She is still upset. She did not hear him say she was heartless. There was no finality, no words, no yelling, just gone.
He was working and something happened. Mother want more stuff and he was trying to take an extra job. It did not go well. The animals knew Dad was tired and they kicked him in the sweet spot. He was just another itinerant worker from somewhere else: ugly, middle-aged and poor. He ended up with the other unknown workers in the pit outside of town. Mother did not think to look in the open grave. She was so convinced of his adultery. I knew he was true to her. He always had an ear when I needed him to talk about my problems. I looked. I miss him so much. Mother did not want to know the truth.
It was a lovely day for working in the field. The city is so hard for me to feel comfortable: filled with smoke from the kitchen fires makes the air hard to breathe. The outdoors is where I feel calm among the growing plants, my escape. I met my mentor at school, a teacher visited my school and invited anyone to come to his farm to learn growing eatable plants in large fields. I was the only one to take up on his offer. Every time I was at the farm he taught me something new and I share with him my plan. He laughed. That was 5 years ago. He doesn’t laugh at me anymore. I’m always at the fields. Someday he says, he will give me my own field. Someday. I feel gratefully for his friendship.
Finally, the prince’s birthday party is over. Oh my God! Mother is beside herself. All of her energy was to show off Anastasia and I. The shocker was Cinderella was at the party and swept the prince off his feet. Mother was right! Cinderella is a beautiful woman. She made a beautiful princess.
I’m lucky to have a wonderful stepsister. She helped me start my farm. I now have a table at the farmer’s market and I’m known for my flavorful, fresh tomatoes. Mother is hoping Anastasia will be her key to happiness. I think mother needs to know just how beautiful she is and not depend on others to make her feel happy.
Drizella, Cinderella’s Stepsister: My Story is part of the Cinderella Collaboration Project, a collection of inventive stories of Cinderella written from a different angle than the traditional folk tale. For more stories, visit I Think, I Say, I Do, and Theresa Barker – Lab Notes.
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