Throwback Friday: “Once Upon A Time” (i.e. My First Short Story)

Throwback Friday: “Once Upon A Time” (i.e. My First Short Story)

Yes, perhaps the title should be Throwback Thursday, but as it’s not Thursday and I have a marginal dislike of conventions (not anime/comic conventions, mind you), I am sharing with you my first ever Throwback Friday (not that there may ever be another one, who knows).
This story, which I only ever titled “Once Upon A Time”, is not the first story idea I ever had, nor was it the first story I ever started. But it is the first story I finished. (Not counting, of course, those stories I wrote in elementary school, with their characteristic grammatical errors.)
So, here you are, a relic of past ages. Yes, it has problems, and could use revision. But I love it all the same. It was the beginning of something extraordinary. And it’s okay to love something imperfect.

Once Upon A Time

by: ‘Manda

I walked through the woods, gaining ground only because I kept my feet going. Everything in me was shouting that I should turn around; I should let go.
Who knew that only days after I first met you, I would be leaving you. We’d come so far, and… now I would have to leave.
It was such a struggle, those first few steps. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way my heart broke with each forward movement.

I had to leave. You must understand. You’ll never know the reason. Nor will we ever see each other again. But I hope that one day, you’ll forgive me. And move on.

Even though I won’t.

I loved you. How could I get over that?

Hypocrite. Yes, that’s accurate. I don’t care. I’m not strong enough.

I’m hundreds of miles away by now, doing my duty. The duty I was born to. Who knew that being a princess isn’t really worth it? I’ve gone through life wishing I was here, being a princess.

And now I’d give anything to be back there. With you.

But I’m to be married. And you have no idea where I am. Or who I am.

Is it okay to sigh here? Considering that it’s better than crying, I’m going to assume so.

Tomorrow is my wedding day. I don’t even know my intended husband, though I’m sure tomorrow night we will get more than comfortable. More comfortable than I’ve even ever been with you. Oh, how I wish things could be reversed and I could be marrying you tomorrow.

I love you. I never told you, did I? I meant to, you know. I meant to tell that you mean the world to me.
But how could I do that when I knew that I would be leaving? And I would become a queen?

Why did it have to happen then? I’d lived in that village for 18 years. 18 years. Never, not once, did I make any sort of relationship that I would miss when I left.
And then you came along. Seeking family, of all things. And you didn’t find it, did you? But you found me. And a place you belong.

I wonder, will you still belong there now that I’ve left? Or am I merely over-exaggerating my importance? Did I mean anything to you?

Perhaps, if I believed the answer to be no, things would be simpler. Perhaps, I could move on. Perhaps,
I could happily marry whichever male my uncle chose for me. Perhaps.

But I don’t. You loved me.

There it is. I can’t take it back, and I can’t help but believe it. That look in your eyes, that kiss. Of course you loved me. There could have been no one else for you.

I wonder, are you looking for me? If you found out I was here, would you seek me out? If you found out what I am, would you still care for me?

Somehow, I pray the answer is no. I will be married. Far away from you.

This is too hard. So hard. It’s not even possible to describe how hard it is. I’m about to walk down the aisle. I only have an hour left. They’re doing my hair now and I’ve already got my dress on. They’re going to finish early and perhaps they will let me step outside and have a breath of fresh air first.

Even here, in the middle of a beautiful garden, it’s not the same as in the forest.

Or in your arms.

I close my eyes. I can almost feel you beside me.

I want to cry, so badly, but I won’t let the tears fall. I won’t.

And suddenly arms wrap around me, and a body presses to my backside. I start violently, shocked. I open my eyes, but of course I can’t see who it is.
And then he whispers in my ear:

“I’ve found you.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. Can I cry now? Yes, I think I can. I think it’s okay to cry because of happiness.

But this can’t happen.

I turn around. There you are. The face I never dreamed I would see again. The eyes that will always shine brightly in my heart.

It breaks my heart.

Especially because… you’re crying too. Why are you crying? Do you know? Or are you just happy to see me?

But then you whisper:

“I know.”

My eyes close. And he hugs me. Tightly. And lets go.

I have so many questions, so many questions, but I saw that understanding in your eyes. And I knew that now wasn’t the time. There would never be a time.

There were footsteps behind me, and I was led away by a strong-armed woman, determined to lead me to my unhappiness.

I don’t look back. I can’t.

The tears have stopped. I must be myself again. I must not love him.

I walk down the aisle. And there you are, waiting for me.

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