I had the dream again. The same dream I have quite often, especially recently. Somewhat repetitive dreams could seem insignificant, but I know better. The truth is it is not only a dream, but also partly a memory. It is one of the few memories I still have of the sky. I know that seems weird. I mean who does not see the sky everyday? But this is not just any sky; I can still see it so vividly. This sky is wide, I mean so expansive it is crazy. It also is a soft blue with a few white puffy clouds bordering it. And not only that, there also is light green grass growing wild below it with white-yellow dandelions popping up everywhere to gently kiss the blue. This particular sky is my favorite dream, and also the last really beautiful thing I have seen.
Nowadays all I see is a tiny blue chunk peeking out from small-carved windows scattered around the castle. Yes I know what others would say to this: oh the poor pretty, pretty princess. The poor girl stuck in a castle with all the perks and opportunities, the poor royal heiress. But reality is far from this image people have in their heads.
My reality consists of grey walls, cold stone grey walls. My world has limits and poor ventilation and guards walking around everywhere. You would not believe how many guards circle me daily. There have been so many of them throughout my life that I almost never remember their names, especially because they are consistently changed almost every two weeks. I used to try to ask the names of the new guards that appeared before me, but then they were always gone so quickly that it ended up becoming pointless. That was when I took to giving them nicknames as triggers to remember who was who like Nark-o for the one who constantly told on me, or Braveheart for the one that liked to show off and accept the more grueling tasks. Sure the nicknames weren’t exactly clever, but this game of mine was fun.
I had to find my own ways to entertain and feel content like whenever I had that dream of that blue beautiful sky. It was nice, and this morning I actually woke up in a good mood for once. I was feeling warm and fuzzy inside. In this dream I was free. I actually could move around, and just spend my time looking up, straight up, at the great wide blue. And then I heard a knock on my door. I did not answer. Then there was more knocking. I still refused to answer. I wanted my dream to continue on, but instead the knocking was what persisted.
“Why is she still not up? I will be back in two minutes. If I do not hear a response we will just barge in.” And just like that my real life was back. I slowly rolled over in my bed and smashed a giant fluffy pillow over my face. “Miss? Miss? I’ll just go in…”
“I am awake!” I exclaimed as I sat up way too quickly and knocked my head accidentally against the headboard behind me. “Ow, goddammit,” I continued, whispering this time.
“Oh…ok good, we will be back in twenty minutes. I expect you to be dressed,” I heard this guard say. He must have been the new point guard for the week. His voice was definitely different from that of the last one. I had called him Scream King. He would yell at me to wake up in the morning and had a ridiculously booming voice.
As the morning went on I continued with my normal routine. I got dressed, then had three guards stomp into my bedroom to make sure my dress was correctly put on I guess. Why else would they come in like that? I was never really sure. Nonetheless they came in, looked me up and down, and then told me it was time for breakfast. I made my way to the dining room and ate, alone by the way. Next I started my morning lessons, ate lunch by myself again, and then had my afternoon lessons. My instructors who were other guards were always on me. I never practiced my instruments enough, or my handwriting looked too much like chicken scratch, etc. I barely listened to them really. I did not see how needlepoint perfection or being able to draw flawless lifelike flowers would make me into a great queen. Nevertheless, everyone insisted that I do so. So I did, mainly so that they would be quiet.
At least with this going on I had little time to think about where my parents were, the great king and queen. For one, my father, the almighty king, was always busy. He only met with me a few times, umm a month maybe. I am not really sure anymore. He only requested my presence when something urgent was happening like a grand ball I had to attend and dance correctly at or some other event where I had to be in the presence of others for a few minutes before I was escorted away quickly. Now as for my mother, the wise and beautiful queen, she passed away years ago. I barely remember her honestly. She even shows up in my dreams much fewer times than that beautiful sky does.
In actuality, my life is not so terrible when compared to much worse things in the world, but since everyday copied the one before it exactly, I started to feel more and more stuck and more and more sad. Year after year of having guards everywhere, of having limitations to my movements, of having a strict schedule, and more than that, having no one to really interact with…well it wears on a person.
So where did that leave me the next day? I never really intended it, but at the edge of my very giant castle where the only exit that does not have guards watching it constantly is located. And this great exit, well it leads right into a giant cave that expands far from the back end of the castle. This cave is not only giant, uncharted and intimidating, but also my only option at the moment. As it turns out, my father did have a need for me. After my normal routine the day before, he called me into his office to have a meeting with me. It was all a real surprise, as you see I was given very little notice this time around.
This meeting was about a very important princess duty: marriage. I was set up many times to meet princes from different kingdoms in the area, but my father never found any of them good enough. Aka the security in their castles was not good enough. I am not sure why this mattered so much, but I guess everyone was after me, the princess of the richest kingdom in the land. Yet this last guy, he had security like no other, and seemed to know so much about me, about my schedule and needs. I spent the entire afternoon hearing both of them speak to one another about my future while I was in the room completely silent. This led me to a crazy realization: this life of mine was never going to change. I would be the princess stuck in a guarded over protective cold castle forever. Even after I got married and became queen, I would still have no freedom. He would see to that.
And that is how I ended up in front of the cave. The day after this marriage announcement, I was up way before the first knock happened on my door. I took nothing with me except for the clothes I was already wearing, my long cloak, and my mother’s locket. This locket was broken and could not open, but it had belonged to her so I kept it with me always. I really had no plan at all. I was not thinking clearly. I just needed an out and I knew this castle like the back of my hand. I knew when and where the guards would be every second of the day. So I waited around corners and moved ever so swiftly down hallways and past guard waiting posts. That was one good thing about all the princess sessions, I could now walk ever so elegantly that no one could hear me coming or going.
The next thing I knew, I was there. I was standing in front of this grand cave not really sure what to do anymore. I couldn’t go back, not into that luxurious isolating castle, but I also couldn’t go forward. How could I just glide into this unknown demon in front of me? But then I heard footsteps behind me, lots of them. I guess they finally realized my absence. The princess could not be missing for more than five minutes without someone noticing. I was soon to be married. I was soon to ensure an alliance between kingdoms. There was too much importance placed on me now. So I took a step. Yep. I, a royal regal princess, took a step into a damp questionable cave because it was better than my current reality. I finally understood and accepted it all. I would actually rather risk everything by trampling through a giant dark maze that could end in disaster than stay where I was. So I did just that. I chanced it all. I finally made a real decision for myself.
Damn I was screwed.
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