Mama used to say, "Honey, when I was eighteen, I thought I was Cinderella. Everybody does. Then, one day, you wake up and lord knows, you realize you ain't Cinderella. You just the umbrella."
Mama had a picture on her mantel that she cut out of the Tribune - it was of her and Daddy on the day they met. A photographer had come out to the county fair, and seen them standing there on the midway. Mama had stars in her eyes, and Daddy, well he was looking over his shoulder at the cotton candy machine.
Daddy loved his cotton candy. Pink and fuzzy and too sweet, like his women. I think it all went wrong when Mama found him in bed with Roger Wilson's mother, and the sweetness moved away.
Mama took to wearing red. Nowadays, red is the color that ladies wear while they sit by and watch their husbands run for president, but back then, it was a slap in the face. Mama called said she was wearing her heart on her sleeve. It wasn't her fault Daddy had cut it end-to-end with that penknife he called a penis.
The preacher came one day to counsel Mama, but Mama wasn't having any. She went to church every week, and lead a god-fearing life, she told him, and well, that's enough. She don't need no preacherman coming to tell her how to live her life, or come preaching about forgiving Daddy.
When she came out, she caught me kissing the preacherman's son - who was nothing like those wild preacher kids in books. It was like kissing new carpet.
Anyway, Mama sat me down and told me about Cind'rella. She said that the reason the story ends on the white horse is that once Prince Charming got her, he didn't know what to do. Neither did she, because fairy tales always stop when the fairies leave.
The Wedding's over, and they go home, and there's nothing to do. So she sweeps up some dust, and he gets bored, and while she cleans, he goes into town. Some nights he even comes home.
"Women aint nothing but a goal to men," she told me, "and women gotta know that it's all roses and sweet-smelling words when he's courtin', but as soon as he gets that shackle on your hand, you about much use to him as the trophy he won in high school. Nice to pull out and try on every five years, but not much use in the here and now."
This Vignette was inspired by something stupid someone said about how every little girl thought she was Cinderella.