Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Sarah Barry

She Shall go to the Ball

 My sister had glided into the crammed sitting room. It was her Debs. She had looked radiant, no different to every other day; an array of faces was lit up by her conventionally stunning magnificence.

I suppose my inquisitive adventure had started soon after. My seventeen year old self had tried to discover if I held any worth. Everyone admired her, but could I get anyone to notice me? As it turned out everyone noticed me.

My expectant tummy got the attention of all around me and beyond. The catalyst was the waist band of my school kilt as it struggled to wrap itself around the two of us. It was the result of a month of hazy love and the incessant attentiveness of a first boyfriend.

The bright spotlight I had always craved just wasn’t the type I had dreamt of. Afterwards I tried to retrieve the anonymity of the years I had spent in the sisterly shadows.

Lilly was ten months old when my Auntie finally persuaded me that I still deserved to go to my Debs. She had lovingly cradled her second goddaughter, my baby, as she fixed a wisp of my hair that had escaped; her favourite perfume clasped ready to drench me.

My confidence had never really recovered from the vitriolic attention of my peers and their parents. Yet that night I caught a glimpse of a captivating nineteen year old in a purple satin dress. No crowds admired the scene as I opened the door to the boy awkward in his tux. Our eyes met and he looked amazed. Maybe he would be the one.

He was.

Today a hundred eyes bore into the flesh exposed by my ivory dress. Their warmth penetrates my every pore and I know it is real. The hateful absence of my parents is drowned out by the approval of my family, old and new. Lilly giggles as I hand the cluster of roses to her and my Aunt steadies my hand. His eyes meet mine once more, we sparkle.

I am a princess.

7 Comments

  1. SJIHolliday
    Apr 29, 2012

    A bittersweet tale, love the way it’s written. Thanks for entering :)

    • SarahB
      Apr 30, 2012

      Thank you for your kindness. I just happened upon the title of your inspiring comp and had to write something….

  2. Shaista
    Apr 29, 2012

    Definitely unexpected happiness – was a bit worried for her :) Love the ‘we sparkle’ at the end…

    I didn’t get to write my piece in the end… a shame really – hope the competition comes round again, and in the meantime will think up something unexpectedly once-upon-a-time-ish…

    Thankyou for re-tweeting my Rainspark… what I really need are Twitter lessons from you, O Queen of the Tweets!

  3. ruanna3
    Apr 30, 2012

    Thank you for the kind comment, Shaista. We will definitely have to catch you next go-round. We need someone of your lyricism.

    It is always my pleasure to retweet you; your writing is beautiful :)

  4. Ang
    May 1, 2012

    This story is both bittersweet and hopeful, a beautiful mixture. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sarah B
      May 1, 2012

      Thank you for your kind words, it is a wonderful feeling when you start sharing your writing.

  5. Jeff Tsuruoka
    May 2, 2012

    That last line is great, a final note of quiet triumph. Nicely done.

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