The Forgetting Princess

Tiara de Princesa

Tiara de Princesa (Photo credit: erika.tricroche)

The aisles are spilling over with costumes of every variety. They pass witches, nurses, girl doctors, faeries, amazons, jungle girls and firefighters. As usual Melanie stops at the princesses. Her mom gives her a look, imploring her to choose something else. She has no grand, cultural agenda that opposes her daughter being a princess. While she counts herself as a feminist she also tells herself that she is not one of “those” kind. Her concern is for her daughter’s emotional health.

Melanie is a princess, for the fourth straight year, because she was always daddy’s little princess. It was sweet, and still is a little, but her mom worries that she is being obsessive. Her husband is in a far off land, a country she cannot pronounce, because that is where the Marines have sent him, three straight times now. Melanie only knows her daddy’s face because they have the internet. She gets to talk to him every week, and every week he reminds her she is his princess. Mom wants to tell him to come up with something else, to tell their daughter she can be anything she wants, but she knows it is important for his sense of continuity.

So Melanie is a princess, again, because that is what daddy wants and she loves her daddy so much, even though she cannot remember what he really sounds like, or smells like, or feels like. She does not remember his favorite food, his favorite music, his favorite movies. She sort of recalls what it felt like when she had a nightmare and daddy came running to her room to pick her up, but even that is fading a little every day. She forgets how it felt to see him smile at her, or how bad she felt when he was angry with her. She no longer knows what it was like to see him waiting for her when she got out of kindergarten for the day.

She remembers that she is his princess though, and she holds on to that as tight as she can. It is all that Melanie has left of her daddy, until he comes home, and she will be a princess every Halloween and every day if she can. She will have her daddy back in that small way, for that short time, and it will have to be good enough.

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