The Beginning of a Fairy Tale


is always easy.
      Once upon a time.
      In a house in the woods there was a woman.
      This time she was brunette, wiry and small, not tall and thin, not willowy.  More like a hibiscus bush, wavy and silly, not princess-like at all, but more like real life.  She did have dainty hands and feet, and she did have princess hair, sort of, which she rarely let down.  Usually, she pulled it atop her head because it made things easier, like gardening and candlemaking, which is how she spent her days.  Usually.
      In the mornings, she tended to peppers, peppercorns, okra and cucumbers.  In the afternoons, she melted wax, added dyes and perfumes, and poured the mixtures into molds lined up on the oak table.  On Fridays, she brought the candles to a gift shop.  On rainy days, she made tags for the candles, doodling flowers that seemed like irises and lilies and writing in a bubbly cursive, Made with Love in the North Georgia Hills.
      Once upon a time, this woman heard a knock, knock, knock upon her door.  And although she was in an old t-shirt and a pair of jeans holed at the knees, and her hair was atop her head like a fountain, and her small feet were bare, she went to the door for there weren't many visitors to the little house in the woods.  A man, a large man—not princely really, more grizzly, more a bear than a man except not as hairy—introduced himself.  I am building the pine house just down the road, he said, as he extended his hand, his paw, and she shook it, her hand engulfed in his, warm, not crushing, just warm.  The house with the large windows and the French doors, Frank Lloyd Wright meets Pa Ingalls, he said and his laugh was warm like his handshake, like whiskey and wool and a woodsy spell.  Yes, indeed, the woman said, she had seen the house.  The scent of pine, she said, had coated her dreams for weeks.
      Is the house for you and your family? she asked.
      Just for me, the woodsman said.
      And the not-so-princess asked him in for tea.
      Later, a day and a night and a day and a night later, her cheek rested on her pillow while she pulled softly at the brown hairs on the bear-man's chest, while she rubbed her small foot along his large leg.  She thought how beginnings were always easy and things tended to get complicated after that.  She counted three weeks until her (handsome prince of a) husband would be home.  
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