Today’s #FlashFictionFriday story comes from a Twitter prompt by @Alexxphoenix42.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter if you want to suggest prompts for these Friday stories!
That boy you had a crush on when you were thirteen is here in the bookshop. He was two years older than you then. He still is, technically.
His golden skin then was soft and full, fresh and plump with youth. His dark hair fell in a curtain over deep brown eyes, which back then was appealingly shy and a little mysterious. The intervening years give you perspective, however, and now you think he was uncomfortable with being one of only four Vietnamese students in a mostly white school; perhaps embarrassed that his English wasn’t yet perfect.
His English is perfect now, though the first tongue he knew still lilts into some of his vowels as he asks the staff for recommendations for his great-granddaughter. Something cute. Perhaps with dragons, perhaps with a princess, but a doing kind of princess. Not one that waits to be rescued.
You meant to be a doing kind of princess yourself, one day.
You meant to be a lot of things, none of which are the things you are.
You follow him out of the bookshop, with that gift in his satchel. The straight back you once gazed at longingly from across the school sportsground is stooped now. The clever hands you admired at music practice are still beautiful in his grand old age.
You wanted once to be a princess for him to rescue. As you got older, you wanted to be a knight, some kind of hero to this boy who was musical and athletic but so shy. You wanted to protect him from the bullies and the unkindnesses of the world.
He never saw you then.
He doesn’t see you now.
You didn’t ever become the princess or the knight in shining armour.
You have sharp teeth now and an affinity for the night. Your deathly white cheek is as curved with plump youth as it was when you died. Forever sixteen years old. Forever pining with an unrequited crush.
You are not the princess and never will be.
You are the dragon.
But like the dragon in the book he has bought for his great-granddaughter, you are, today, full of mercy.
Today there will be no eating of knights or the doing kind of princess or their grandfathers, whom you once loved with your whole childish heart.
Today, you still have a crush on the boy you had a crush on seventy years ago. Today you let that memory make you feel young again, and kind again.
And for one brief, longing, beautiful, painful moment – alive.