Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a handsome prince. The handsome prince was in love with a beautiful queen from a land far away from his own…Isn’t this how they all start out, dear Readers, fairy tales, I mean? Whether we admit it or not, and I certainly will, we are all looking for that happy ending, life tied up in a pretty little bow, the happily ever after. However, the reality is more likely than not more suited to an allegory. Allegories are stories in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for ideas about human life, so says Merriam-Webster’s. Generally speaking, there is a moral to the story. Some of the most easily identifiable allegories in literature are the collection of Aesop’s Fables. Take the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The hare represents those of us who are always in a rush, no time to stop and relax, leading blindly. Whereas the tortoise represents those of us who plot and ponder, slowly but surely reaching our goals. The race represents life itself. The moral of the story? Slow and steady wins the race. If we are determined to win in life, slow and steady would be the way to go.
Fairy tales are fine for make-believe. However, real life is more a series of allegories. The people we meet, the places we go, the things we do are more a representation of lessons to be learned. And these lessons serve to help us to help ourselves. Fairy tales serve to lull us into the belief that we will be rescued one day by a knight in shiny armor.
So why am I giving you a literature lesson today, dear Readers? As it turns out, I have a point. When I was much, much younger, I believed in fairy tales. At 14 years old I was in love with KC. For those of you out there who scoff at the notion that 14 year olds can fall in love, you were never I love at 14. I assure you, I was in love. And I was quite certain KC loved me as well. It was such a tender and precious time in my life. He made me laugh, he walked me home from school, and he carried my books. We could talk for hours or sit completely silent and still enjoy each other’s company. You know this is going to end badly, right dear Readers? As it happened, my knight had a chink in his armor; KC had a girlfriend and she was pregnant. It was 1979, and the only way he saw clear to live up to his obligations was to marry her. What do you suppose the odds are that these two teenagers lived happily ever after, dear Readers? The last time I saw KC was in May of 1980. However, throughout my adult life, I would hear a bit of gossip here, a little story there about the direction KC’s life had taken. Sadly, there was no happy ending for this couple.
In the summer of 2002 I was preparing to attend my 20th high school reunion. I had recently heard that KC was divorced and living back in the small town in which we attended high school. “Perfect,” I thought. I was going to make it a point to see him. Although certainly not still in love with him, I did want to see if he remembered me and our time together. I certainly did. And yes, dear Readers, could there possible be a happily ever after for me and my white knight.
My reunion was scheduled for the last weekend of July 2002. I arrived in town on Thursday July 26. I wanted so badly to ask anyone and everyone if they knew anything about KC. I never got the chance. I heard a group of my former classmates talking about KC. I surreptitious listened in on the conversation. My heart dropped and my stomach churned as I heard the word, “Died.” Dear Readers, my knight had died the day before I had gotten into town, July 25th, 2002. My belief in fairy tales died the next day, July 26th, 2002. (RIP Kenneth Dale Candelaria, b. 24 Oct. 1961, d. 25 Jul 2002)
It is now 11 years later and my disbelief in fairy tales has held firm. I am now in love with an Egyptian prince and I am his queen. Allegorically, ESS represents unequivocal joy, the Middle East represents my struggles, and our love represents the crop we will harvest. You see dear Readers, if ESS and I stand even the slightest chance of being together, it will take an enormous effort on both our parts.
If I were to finish the fairy tale I began at the beginning of today’s post, the prince would rescue the queen from all of her struggles and they would live happily ever after. But, life is a series of allegories. The moral I wish to learn from this one is, “If you fight through your struggles, you will encounter unequivocal joy and you will reap a harvest of love.” Here’s hoping, dear Readers. Peace, ~v.