*heads up: not a ‘love-at-first-sight-immediate-butterflies-silliness’ kind of story, but still lame and full of emotional displays; look away sensitive and cranky people…
When I was five Disney’s “Little Mermaid” came out. It was the first movie I watched in the cinema, and yes, I was terrified of Ursula and cried. A year or two later “Beauty and the Beast” was released and immediately these became my ‘all-time favourites’. I loved the characters, the songs, but let’s not kid ourselves, most of all, I loved that in the end both Ariel and Belle get their happy endings. It still makes me smile and giggle like a schoolgirl whenever I watch it.
That being said, and here’s where it gets weird, from an early age (6 or 7 years old) I’ve had a passion for the darker and slightly more twisted stories – the original ‘fairy tales’, the Hans Christian Andersen’s tales, the Grimm’s stories, folktales my great-aunties used to tell me. As much as I love Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, my favourite version of it is a book by a Portuguese author, António Torrado, where Micaela (his version of Belle) was too late to save the Monster (Beast) and he dies, leaving her forever in grief. I also think nothing beats the original version of Little Mermaid, when she can’t cope with a broken heart, stabs herself and dissolves into the ocean’s foam. And one of my favourite stories was a folktale version of Hansel and Gretel my great-aunties used to tell me, they had different names (Periquinho & Periquinha) but basically the girl is cooked by the stepmom (witch) and the boy serves her as soup to their father, I think the end is OK though, but I can’t remember… either way, creepy right? Haha I know. So it won’t come as a surprise that I also love Tim Burton’s stories and movies, I have a passion for the ugly fairies, the evil witches, and the ‘grim’ side of fairy tales… I can’t explain it, I only know that in my head it all sounds far more poetic and romantic this way. It’s like Romeo and Juliet, it wouldn’t have been the story it is if they hadn’t died (and you know it).
Which brings me back to my own life. Having cultivate this passion for the dark and twisted stories I never thought I’d have my ‘Disney fairy tale’, I never thought I wanted one. When I was a teen, loads of girls talked about relationships, the dream of getting married, having babies… all of that. And I didn’t, I thought it was all nonsense. I mean I had a high-school crush, and as hard as the break up was (I was 16 after all), I never wanted to marry him or ‘grow old together’. I didn’t want to get ‘stuck’ (that’s how I used to see it);. I wanted to travel the world, meet loads of people, make loads of friends. But fate swooped in, and in December 2003, on my birthday, I met a boy, a friend of a friend. Now, being as I am, I don’t believe in love at first sight, I believe it is scientifically impossible to fall in love (actually fall, not drool over someone’s hotness) with someone you don’t know. So we didn’t fall in love. Sorry, not that kind of story.
In fact the next time I saw him, I had no idea he was the boy who ‘crashed’ my b-day. No clue. I asked him to take over my seat in a poker game (or something) that I was clearly loosing and had no further interest on, and that’s when one of my friends said ‘isn’t that the guy who went to your birthday?’ to which I replied ‘if you say so’. No spark still, but now I would remember how he looked.
We started hanging out with my friend’s friends (including ‘the boy’) and we got to know each other better. He was shy and quiet, cracking a joke here and there, but quieter than the others. And that’s when I felt the first spark. I am very outgoing, ‘sociable’ if you will, and I am drawn to people who aren’t. Slowly he started to feel more comfortable around me, and talking more and more. We became more found of each other, and start going on dates, the movies, a concert, the beach… still nothing would happen, other than getting ‘butterflies’ every time we saw each other. Until one night it did. He read a poem, we kissed and I told him ‘now it’s official: we’re boyfriend and girlfriend’. Haha we still laugh about that. I have no idea where that came from, but suddenly I was at a point where I really liked this boy, and I didn’t want to ‘fool around’, not when you have feelings in the mix. This was May 2004.
Last year we got married, and this weekend is our first anniversary. Oh and we got married Disney style. Never in a million years did I imagine this would happen. I won’t lie, after some years together, mostly after moving in together, I kind of wanted to get married. But in my head it was always something very simple, very different, I never really pictured the ‘big white wedding’. Well, it was big, white, and I loved every second of it and wish we could have one every year! I got my Disney fairy tale after all…
But what amazes me the most, is that somehow after 11 years we’re still together. And not just any 11 years, the years when most changes happen, when you meet more people, when you have to make life decisions, start working, when basically your life is a mess, you don’t know where you’ll end up and are still stressing about it. Going through all of that together, either brings a couple together or completely apart. We are completely different people than that girl and boy who met in 2003, we both changed so much… we just happened to change in the same direction, I guess.
Don’t be fooled though: it’s not all ‘cuddles and roses’. Nah. That’s not a real life fairy tale, that’s not real love. Real life goes on after the ‘happy ending’. And let me tell you, I think it is impossible for two people to share a life together and never have a disagreement. So, there’s been arguments, crying, ‘bumps in the road’, and ugly fights over the years (not many but some). But we’ve always got through that. And not because we’re lazy, crazy or scared of ending up alone, but because we really do love each other and really do want to stay together.
He is my favourite person to talk to, my confident… it feels like he is literally my other half. My better half. He makes me a better person, he makes me laugh and makes me feel like I am one in a trillion. My favourite place to be is home, on my pyjamas, no make-up, with my head on his shoulder watching whatever silliness we want to, without ever judging each other.
We talk about everything and more, we help and support each other whenever things get rough, we are each other’s number one fan and most honest friend as well. We believe in each other (told you this post would make you sick). I have fallen so hard for this boy that I now understand the original Little Mermaid and Micaela (Belle): the sole thought of losing him causes a grief so deep I can’t breathe. And often I do have these thoughts. I am not sure it is my passion for the twisted story tales, but I am afraid of when (and how) ours is going to end. Because I don’t want it to end, I do wish we get to grow old together.
Still, the grim (and real life) fairy tales don’t bring me down or make me live in fear. In fact it’s quite the opposite: I feel so lucky to have been granted this immense joy, so lucky that in the vastness of this planet we got to meet each other, so blessed for what we have right now, that I make it a daily habit to say ‘Thank You’ and to cherish this love, this boy (now man) who has brightened my life and my grim brain. That way, if ever it all dissolves into the ocean’s foam, I’ll know that I always valued what we had, when we had it and that we always knew just how lucky we are.
Never taking you for granted, my true prince charming. Happy anniversary my darling, I love you.