She had just finished watching The Cinderella Story and entered the room where her mother was managing the bills. She came a little closer and asked her mother, “Mom, do you believe in happily ever afters?” not sure how to answer her daughter, she said, “I don’t know, I have never known it in person.” Not hearing what she wanted to hear, she said in a balked tone, “But you are supposed to know it. Aren’t you? That’s how it’s supposed to be. You meet a guy who sweeps you off your feet, you fall in love and marry, then there is a ‘happily ever after’ music and then I come into being. Isn’t it how it is supposed to be?”
Startled by her reply, the mother excused herself and went into the bedroom, opened the cupboard and took out an old photo frame. Swiped the dust off it and kept looking into the picture for hours. The picture brought flashbacks alive and she could feel herself young again. Those days, dates, promises, holding hands together and walking on the sand, it all became alive. Those memories hadn’t faded even though it had been almost 20 years since then. But what had faded was her smile. In retrospect, those memories brought nothing but tears with them. There was no place for those memories or those tears in her life yet she couldn’t ignore the fact that her daughter was reaching that same age and now these questions will become a part of their daily lives. She must have started weaving her dreams by now and sooner or later the reality of happily ever after must be disclosed to her. But she loved her daughter too much to wreck her sweet fantasies.
“There has to be some way or the other to answer that question without smashing her dreams” She thought and assembled herself with confidence and went to her daughter.
She sat by her side, smiled and said, “So what do you think about happily ever afters? They are fascinating, aren’t they?”
“Oh yes mother! They are so enticing. Imagine you meet the man of your dreams, he woos you and proposes you to marry, and then there is this grand wedding with orchids all around. Beautiful isn’t it?”
“Yes indeed”, said the mother, “You’ll look like a princess on your wedding, I can see that” piercing a kiss on her forehead. “But what happened to your happily ever after mom? Where is the man of your dreams? Where is Dad?” her daughter couldn’t resist herself from asking. “Oh well darling, sometimes the happily ever afters don’t last forever, you know.”
“But why mother?”
“Come, I’ll tell you something.”
They went into the bedroom, finishing all the chores for the day and retiring to bed. She opened the closet and took out an old album this time. Opening it, she asked her daughter to listen patiently to what she was now going to say.
“You know when I was about your age I had the same fantasies of a ‘happily ever after’, a prince charming riding on a white horse, wooing you and sweeping you off your feet, flattering you with lovely greetings and stuff. And then one day it happened, it all came true. I met the man of my dreams. It felt as if it was a waking dream. The perfect man, the perfect day, the perfect wedding. It was all too good to be true.”
“We had our share of happy days… but in the end it was all just a dream, lasting no longer than an illusionary moment.”
So listen carefully when I tell you that even while your dreams come true, you need to be prepared to grow past them if they don’t last. There are people who will come into your life only to make you realize how incomplete your life had been before they came along. It will hurt losing them but you will have to remember that you were living your dream, and dreams don’t last eternity. They end at the break of dawn and leave you feeling incomplete. It will make you ache, trying too hard to hold things together, but no matter how hard you try it will slip away. You will have to gulp in the truth that some things don’t last forever, and some people will leave, even if you don’t want them to.
Perhaps at times you might find life making no sense for you, but believe that it does get better.
Just when you will feel no reason to continue your existence, you will be blessed with something special. You will find a reason to smile, to live. Even though it will look like another dream in your way, you will know that this time it will last forever. It will look perfect like any other dream but it will be yours to keep.
It was true for me when I held you for the first time. It looked perfect staring at you while you curled your fingers around me. At that moment I knew that we will pass the test of time, together. I knew that this time it will be you and me, forever.
“But didn’t you miss him after he left? Did I not remind you of him?”
Every passing moment since then. But I had no other choice with me. Even though he left me, even though it didn’t last long, but we surely did have our share of happy days. I like to remember us happy together, despite the fact that it hurts. And sometimes I imagine how life would have turned around if he had been around. I wanted him around when I held you, but just a glance at you would remind me that he will always be around, in you. I found myself whole again when I met you. And I can’t be more grateful to him for this.
You see, life could get complicated at times, and the things that you want to forget linger longer than it ought to. Your dreams may haunt you sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop dreaming. Always shoot for the rainbows but don’t let life trick into believing that the world ends when the rainbow ends. Remember, there is life at the end of rainbow too. But most importantly, never forget that there will be thorns if you wish for roses. Remember that it will not be easy, but at the end it will all be worth.
After all that I have been through… I know this thing for sure.
“… and you know, once in a while it does come true. Even though it might not last long, you do get to meet the man of your dreams.”