That Could have been me

Founder, Fatma Al Bannai is kick starting this month’s theme “Twisted Fairy tales” with her own ending for Cinderella, inspired a little from the Grimm Brother’s version and how sometimes happy endings don’t necessarily need to involve getting married to the prince.

“That could have been me”

From the place she stood in the crowd, Ella peered through the hood of the cloak she wore, one of the things she stole when she finally managed to break free from the attic of her father’s house that that wretched woman of a stepmother locked her inside. Ella let out a snort as she recalled Cassandra’s horrified expression when she came to realize that Ella could possibly be the woman that Prince James was looking for. She had known the woman all her life so it almost didn’t surprise her to what lengths Cassandra went to ensure her goals are met.

The crowd’s sudden burst of cheer snapped her out of her thoughts and caused her to look up once more to see two figures appearing at the balcony ledge, James looking just as handsome as she remembered him from that night as he stood there waving to the crowds. Ella shifted to the woman standing him, donned in an enchanting white gown with her signature red her swept in a neat bun. Her walk was not as graceful as it once was and Ella really wasn’t surprised at that; after all she was missing an essential part of her feet

“Seems she has not grown accustomed to them yet”

When the newlyweds exchanged a kiss for the crowd, Ella realized that she’s had enough and proceeded to maneuver herself through the sea of bodies pressed against each other; pushing, ducking and squeezing until she was out of the main gathering of people. She took one last look before she walked down the cobbled road, smiling and greeting people who met her path until she arrived at a small courage, it wasn’t much but she found that she preferred that over the massive mansion Cassandra was so obsessed of keeping, despite not being able to bare the expenses of it any longer.

“I suppose her new son in law will be able to provide her with much better accommodations”

The smell of freshly baked bread that always exuded the house overwhelmed her senses the minute she stepped into the house, she couldn’t help but smile as she closed her eyes; taking it all in.

She opened her eyes, only to realize she was not alone.

“It’s good to see you again child”

Seated on one of the stools next to her cake display; Andora looked just as Ella remembered her, grey cloak, silver hair and a pair of kind eyes.

“It’s good to see you too fairy God mother”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t come sooner”

“I know”

Ella did know, Andora had spoken to her about the fairy law, a code that each fairy must adhere by no matter what. Fairies cannot humans under any circumstances, Fairies cannot grant immortal life and fairies cannot change destiny is just one of those examples that comes in the fairy law book.

“So this is what you decided to do then?” said Andora as her eyes danced at every wall of the small house “a little small don’t you think?”

“All the better for me”

“It’s charming through, just like you” Andora smiled, though it was halfhearted “I suppose you didn’t go to the ceremony then?”

“As a matter of fact I did” Ella said as she unbuttoned her cloak and hung it on a nearby hanger.

“You did?” Andora looked genuinely surprised.

“I did” Ella nodded.

“It must have been hard for you, child” Andora stood, for the purpose to comfort Ella.

“No, actually it was not as bad as I thought it would be”

Andora’s eyes held an unspoken question and Ella immediately was able to guess it before she spoke it “I thought we were in love, James and I … I truly believed that since that night of the ball that nothing will be able to separate us … not my stepmother, not my sisters and certainly not social status”

Ella paused, memories of the day where she gazed upon James, eyes when she escaped the attic room surfaced in her. She remembered the confused look on his face and she knew instantly that he recognized her.

But he said nothing.

They simply stared at each other.

And she realized that he knew what she was based on her wardrobe.

Yet silence continued.

Little did either of them know that Cassandra had realized what was about to occur. What had occurred to have changed everything…

“Why did you go through?”

“It is my sister’s wedding after all” Ella spoke in a matter of fact tone.

“Yes I am aware of that” Andora scowled and Ella knew that she was pushing her buttons “but it should have been you! You know that right?”

“I do” nodded Ella, putting on an apron.

“How can you be do calm?”

“Maybe … maybe perhaps I did not want what Cassandra wanted for her daughters” Ella let out a small laugh “I didn’t go as far as to cut their heels in order to fit into the glass slippers and James never fought for me when he learnt the truth”

Ella turned towards Andora and gave her a full smile “perhaps what I really wanted, was my freedom and … I realized that now” she said as she and flipping the sign that hung on the front door to Ella’s Bakery OPEN before turning again to see Andora casting her a proud smile before she disappeared.

Author: Fatma Al Bannai

If you would like to see a more gruesome twist to the Cinderella Story, click here to read it.

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