The story is an old one. Motherless daughter. From riches to rags. The precarity of position, especially on women. Did Cinderella have a daughter? Did her father die too? Was she orphaned?
Covered in cinders, because she was poor, forced to scrub the fires pits, and to sit close on, because of the cold and meanness of her basement quarters.
Hopeless, hopeless, and lonely. A mother, dead, a dead mother, whom she can barely remember. Protected. Meant to be protected. But not. Adrift. Without parents, she is overlooked by parents of others, seeking to advance the position of other children.
Who was the step-mother? With two daughters. Adrift. Alone. Set out in the world. Clinging for hope. Clinging, clinging, clinging for hope. An orphan too? How much similarity was there between Ella and Stepmother? And yet–strained–divided, across the difference in position.
And the cinders, the ashes, the ragged dress Ella wore–was that not the Stepmother’s Charity, the softness in the Stepmother’s heart–that kept Ella close, that did not turn her out, to starvation, or ruination–
The trauma–the trauma of loneliness–of true and terrible loneliness–the mind bends–the mind breaks–everything she didn’t have–splits, forms, resolving into a Spectre from the Unseen–A Fae–Oh, Fae, Oh, Goodmother–hear this wish I wish tonight–
Dreams. Dreams and transformations. The masquerade. The seduction. The Prince. A Truth Universally Acknowledged. In Possession of. In want of. Coming down the stairs. Brushing back her yellow hair.
El. Ella. Ella.
I think of my son, Prince Phillip. I think of being there for him, my wife and I. I think of what might happen if we were to be gone–
I think of the man he will one day be, of the women he will one day meet–will he be ash-covered? Will he fall in love with the ash-covered? Will he love the orphan? See past the rough–
What will the world be, for him?
Same, same, same, same as it ever was, same as it ever will, ever, ever, ever, on and ever, ever, ever after.