Streams of sunlight were beginning to glimmer through the sheer curtains hanging over the open window. The cool breeze caressed the bare skin of the Princess causing her to awaken enough to pull up the blankets, snuggling them around her neck. She really did not want to wake up this early, yet so many thoughts flooded her mind, that trying to sleep any longer would be futile. She had been anticipating this day. Her plans would include another journey back to her little playhouse in the forgotten forest.
With fearful resolve, she got up and dressed, as she knew what she just had to do. It was time to come face to face with a teddy bear, a teddy bear which represented a moment in her past that had been hidden in the darkest depths of her mind. She did not feel like putting on any of the silky flowing gowns that were typically part of the princesses’ wardrobe. After all, the playhouse was so dusty from years of neglect and today, she just did not feel like a princess. Maybe the plain black cotton servants dress would do, for this day felt more like a day for mourning.
Grabbing a quick bite to eat, the Princess scurried out into the castle courtyard and down the garden path to the edge of the forest. She did not stop to enjoy the beauty surrounding her. She could not be distracted or worse yet, allow her thoughts to cause her to wait until a better day. It was too easy for her to procrastinate on this one. This she knew, because she had already put her plans on hold for many days.
Her pace slowed as she neared the edge of the forest. She hesitated for a moment, finding that she had to force herself to take each step. Yet there seemed to be something else coming from the inside of her. She felt a somewhat comforting sense of strength, something that made her feel that everything was going to be okay. Even though this journey today would be painful, she had a strange knowing that it would end well.
The path before her was clear this time. She knew exactly how to get back to the place that she had accidently stumbled upon weeks before. Just a little farther ahead, the Princess could see her old playhouse. Once again, the fearful anticipation crept over her, but she forced herself to keep going. She knew she needed to make herself to remember and relive the moment that had changed her life so dramatically. She stepped over the rotted wooden step onto the porch and pushed open the squeaky door. Tip toeing as she had done as a child, so as not to disturb her sleeping baby doll in the opposite corner of the room, she approached her old play kitchen set. There was the prized teddy bear, exactly where she had left it just weeks ago and where it had fallen so many years ago. She did not pick it up today, but chose to sit on the dirty floor beside it.
The Princess closed her eyes as she reached to hold onto her fuzzy teddies soft paw. Hot tears began to stream down her cheeks once again as she allowed herself to adventure back to that day so long ago. She was just a very young teenager then. She had stopped coming to her little playhouse as often, but still found herself attracted to the peacefulness of the forest. She would still occasionally sit and rock her baby doll, not seeming to want to let go of the special parts of her childhood. More so now, she found herself contemplating her future dreams of being the best wife and mother in the whole world.
It was one of these occasions that the Princess had been admiring her treasured teddy bear and thinking of one day passing on this treasure to her own daughter. She was startled by the sound of footsteps on the porch. She had never seen another person in the forest before, and only those friends whom had been invited had ever been inside her little playhouse. The playhouse door was suddenly thrown open. In walked a man, only familiar to her, as she had seen him before on her trips into town. She remembered him because it made her feel uncomfortable when he looked at her. He seemed to stare at her and he was often at the same places that she would visit.
A wave of terror instantly swept over the Princess, even before her eyes fell to the large silver knife that was in the stranger’s hand. Frozen with fear, the Princess was unable to move. The stranger grabbed her arm and threw her to the ground. He clasp his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams. She felt the cold blade of the knife against her side as the assault began. She remembered the hot tears that had fallen that day, too. She could not look at this persons face. He was a horrible monster!
She was having a difficult time grasping what was being done to her. Her thoughts ran wildly as she attempted to comprehend what was happening. Why would someone do this? How could someone be so horrible to another person? What would people think of her if they found out? Surely somehow she had caused this. Had she smiled at this man when she saw him in town? She was always smiling at people, in spite of being warned that not everyone was a nice person. She should have never gone into the forest alone. This day, she was supposed to be working, not day dreaming in her playhouse.
The assault felt like it came to an end as abruptly as it had started. The monster almost seemed to become afraid of something himself. As he left the little playhouse, he told the Princess that no one must ever know of this. He threatened that if she told anyone, he would find her and next time he would really hurt her. She would be very sorry if she ever told a soul. The man disappeared into the forest as the Princess sat and cried. She could not tell anyone what happened that day. It was a horrible thing. She felt dirty and sickened by the tragic event that had just occurred. She knew she had lost some thing that day. Innocence, worth and value had been robbed from her. She knew she would never be the same because of this. She would not realize until years later, how life altering this one event would be for her. The man was right, no one must ever know.
The Princess sat for a long time in the old playhouse that day as she relived her victimization. She allowed herself to grieve and thought about the years that had transpired since that day. She could now clearly see how this one event had caused her to lose so much more than a moment of time and childhood innocence. Being able to see clearly into the past, brings light to the present and healing to move forward into the future. Another day, the Princess was sure she would spend more time here. But for this day, she was done. She knew that she had taken an important step. She had faced her past and would tell her story now. Maybe it would help another to venture into their own hidden memories and allow light to fill that dark room they’ve been unable to enter.
It was time to go back to the castle and put on her beautiful “princess” garments once again. She must never allow fear or the past to keep her from being who she was. Once a princess, always a princess! And yes, even when bad things happen, a princess can live happily ever after and that she did!