The Glass Slipper

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I don't know what kind of people name their daughter "Cinderella"; probably the same people who don't properly bathe her. That was her name, and that was her life. She was very nice although I can't believe she was as perfect as the tall tales. No one is that agreeable.

Her two stepsisters (I can never remember their names) were not as ugly as the gossips would have you believe, and I think the "nasty" rumours were a little harsh. (Sometimes, I wonder how a lot of these rumours get started.)

I've heard the gossips whisper, "You would think her sisters might stick up for Cinderella from time to time."

I have a sister, and she's never stuck her neck out for me, not even when our parents were on the rampage. (All I did was let a little of my hair out the window so my boyfriend could sneak in. The way my parents carried on, you'd think I blew the house down.) My sister just stuck her nose in her potion book and didn't resurface for three days. But then, I've never butted in when her man's caught giving her a wake-up kiss.

No, Cinderella's stepsisters weren't so out of the ordinary. In their defence, they were under pressure to be perfect in the pursuit of a rich husband. Sure, being stuffed into a corset may not be as bad as having to sleep in the fireplace. It might seem like they were pampered, spending their days in primping and self-improvement while Cinderella waited on them hand and foot. Maybe in hindsight, the sisters could see that what was done to Cinderella was not fair, but they had their own problems.

In these cases, it is customary to blame the parents. I do. Cinderella's mother died when she was young, so I hardly blame her. Her father remarried, then he just faded away. Some say he died, some that he travelled, and some that he let his new wife run the house. The truth is, dead or not. He did little to help his only child.

Her stepmother, however, did play an active role in the narrative. She abused Cinderella while forcing every elegance on her own daughters, trying to fit them into some sort of fairytale ideal. Perhaps she had her own issues: low self-esteem or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Who knows? The facts are, she did what she did, and no one really knows why.

So, once upon a time, as the saying goes, Cinderella (nice or not) and the stepsisters (nasty or not) lived with their abusive mother (and maybe a malingerer father) in the kingdom where I live. None of this really mattered to anyone until the prince gave a ball.

I don't remember his name either. I'm sure it was on the invitation, but I threw that out ages ago. (And his name hasn't been in any tales since before the whole Puss-In-Boots controversy.) Yes, I got an invitation. Everyone in the kingdom got one, even Cinderella. (I would have loved to see the royal scriber's face when he addressed that envelope.)

Of course, Cinderella's stepmother told her she couldn't go. She wrote her out a list of chores, forced her own daughters into two dresses only your mother would make you wear, and went to the ball with them. (I would rather spin straw into gold than go to a party my parents were chaperoning.)

I don't know anything about fairy godmothers or birds, but the long and the short of it is that Cinderella went to that ball despite her grounding.

I had a new dress, and I'm a little short, so I slipped on stiletto slippers made by the shoemaker's brilliant elves. I was just hanging with the maidens, waiting for the guys to get drunk enough to ask us to dance and making insensitive comments about Cinderella's two stepsisters who were hanging back with their mother. (They must have been so humiliated.)

That is when the prince asked me to dance.

The royals know all the latest dance steps. I was shaking it pretty well, feeling sexy. I knew my maiden-friends were turning greener than un-ripe pumpkins. He chatted me up; he was nothing if not a charmer. I'm not sure, but I think he grabbed my butt.

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