a fairytale love story

by Cynthia Chang
Art by Sunny Lu
Issue: Scintilla (Spring 2019)

A girl, in tatters, sweeping dirt streets,
brushes by a prince from the land of riches;
isn’t that the ‘once upon a time’
of all magical adventures?

But it was you, on the first day,
who huddled quietly
by the sidelines at recess
your fingers engrossed with grass blades,
your eyes wandering
from place to place.

I spent my time
exploring the playground
painting the kingdoms
of kings and queens
and knights in shining armor

You were always my prince
conspiring antics, sparking imagination—
always beside me, in tandem—
“if you call for me, I promise
that I’ll find you.”

And before I knew it
I was lost without you.
It really seemed as if
we’d stay friends forever.

there were things even fate could not change.
Beyond the power of a prince, there stood
an army outside his own kingdom,
waiting to attack.

On the last day
slips of paper were exchanged;
I looked to you, to your dark brown eyes for the last time,
the features of your face that changed ever so slightly,
a kaleidoscope of mixed feelings—

Hardly the happily ever after
that we had once imagined,
but definitely a once upon a time
that remains unfinished, separated by
the rising of the drawbridge
and the curtain walls.

Perhaps we’ll meet again, someday
in different kingdoms.
we’ll have different stories to tell,
and duels to fight, and people to protect,
those bygone days—
what are they without someone to remember?

Two children wearing crowns build a sand castle in the sandbox of a playground.