“You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here’s a hint – ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn’t just the women. It’s the great male fantasy – all it takes is one dance to know that she’s the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know – this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don’t want a very long courtships. They want to know immediately.” – David Levithan & Rachel Cohn, Lily’s Book of Dares
Your mother is carefully tucking away things you would be bringing in your luggage, checking if they are completely essential, and she finds that you are packing a few books along. Alice in Wonderland, Little Mermaid… She was about to ask you to take them out and leave them behind, before she paused and just piled them neatly inside your bag. She knows why you were bringing them. And she has no problem with the reason behind it. You are smitten with a woman, and you don’t even try to hide it.
To the world, you are like this astonishing prince, knight in shining armor. You are the envy of many other men, and the dream of many other women. But in your heart, there is only one yearning. A woman fit to be queen. For her, you want to be what the world crowns you as. And to be her prince, her knight, her man, you will need to work for it and deserve it.
It started with a gaze, that first time your heart fluttered so much after 100 sit ups. It was not due to the cardio, you knew. Yes, eventually that much practice allowed you to score almost perfect in the military physical exam. But what made your heart flutter was her scent, her timidity, her honesty and the passion she puts in her work. With that one gaze, even if for a script, you were done for. And weren’t you glad that the lines you had to utter in character matches exactly what you wanted to say “Since when had she been amazing?” From then on, you saw her for the woman she was, beyond the sisterly affection you initially had.
No, you doubt yourself for a moment, it started with a dance. That moment you held her in your arms, looking into her eyes, swirling her to faint music. You were dancing in the spotlight, like no one else was watching. You realized moments later that everyone, in fact, was watching. But you gave nary a care. You liked holding her like that. There was a warmth about it. Your heart may be beating like a drum, your ears flushed red, your face painted with an indelible grin, but deep within, you were at peace. Even with the exhaustion of grueling filming days , for the first time in how many years, everything felt perfect.
Then, maybe again, it started with a kiss. The cheesiest and most scripted of kisses. When she had froth on her mouth and you were ordered to take it. It tasted good. Not the coffee, her lips. You would give anything to taste it again without a camera capturing the moment. With or without the froth. And you longed to really have those private moments after you get many other kisses under the bright lights and rolling cameras.
No, once upon a time, there was a touch. The first time your skin brushed against hers. You don’t even remember now if it was captured on camera. But all skin contact is electrifying too after that. She feels soft, warm, comfortable. You could get used to it easily.
So, you give up figuring out how it all started. All you know is that you’re all in by now. That your story had already climaxed before you even remembered starting it. So what if your friends chide you for going fast. So what if they think you have this annoying habit of falling for your co-actresses. No, in your mind they are wrong. You don’t always fall. You may have always been attracted, but you never fall. This was the first time you fell. And it is the right time.
So, tonight, when you’re done packing for the real world of ROK-Marines ahead of you, you will be her prince. You decided that finally, without objection from your friends and family, you will seal the deal. You will give her glass slippers, her bubble vial or quite simply the only token you know to make her yours forever. And you wish she will accept. Even if she bawls at the thought of it, swoons, be speechless, speak rapidly or everything else in between, you only wish she will agree.
But before that, you admit that you had been reading fairy tales as a kid. You wondered why most of them had heroines who were damsels in distress. You value women more than that. To you, women are far more capable than being damsels in distress. And that’s when you thought you stopped believing in fairy tales. You went on thinking that maybe they were lies spun by men trying to woo a woman. Until you met her. The one who made you want to write your own fairy tale, the proper tale in your standard. So before you get on your bestfriend’s car, to meet her at an undisclosed location, your mind is spinning…
Once upon a time, there was a man who had his heart broken quite a few times. This man almost stopped believing in love. Until an amazing woman came along. She dared to do her stunts on her own, doing somersaults into the man’s heart. Their bodies switch in a script, and with that he found her heart and soul. Until one day, the man knew not to ever let her go. And is hoping she feels the same. So, they, together, would live happily ever after.
You are quite sure of your question, and the consequences of the answer. Like Prince Charming in fairy tales, you need not wait forever to claim your princess, your queen, your prize. So, you hope Fate would be nice enough to let “happily ever after” finally begin, with her “Nae”.