Page 42 - WTP Vol. XI #3
P. 42

Only much later do you recognize that your role was what gratified;
it was not the pursuer. At least, not that one. In most of the stories you’d been raised on,
a daughter roamed fields and villages, never thinking to make a wish list,
only waiting for the protagonist (handsome, new in town) to eclipse
her on sight. Myth, legend, even parable made her so perpetually desirable,
she recurred in films and museums; her narrative, repeated ad nauseam,
took on sanctity. So you, an ordinary girl, felt like an agent of history
when you saw you’d caught the eye of—not a god or a prince, but a guy
at the edge of—not an enchanted path or immortal streambed, but a math class
or coffee shop. The atmosphere trembled with happily ever after,
which even as a child you had pegged as simplistic, the easy way out of a web
of complication. But that was childhood: your love was for books, their dark woods,
town squares, miracles, impostors. Even one boy was so far in the future,
vagueness on the page barely registered. Half a life later, as you consider
your failures, you come to resent
that so many myths—ostensibly meant
to illuminate—regress into fairy tales. Where were the warnings of terrible
silences, rifts you would keep smoothing over to maintain, if not happily, then ever after?
Who was sustaining the archetype in which one character is landscape?
Now awash in books, even making them, comprehending their origins,
you’re naturally suspicious
when their makers are anonymous,
in part because no one’s responsible for the stories or their principles,
in part because (it sounds like an error) the absence of an author,
for a tale retold sufficiently, brings excess credibility.
adrieNNe Su

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