Princesses: Where are they now?
(Part three: Sleeping Beauty)
Marriage, not the kiss, woke Sleeping Beauty up. It takes a little while to come round properly when you’ve been out of it for a century. Aurora never could be sure if the Prince had ever gone through the formality of asking for her hand in marriage. It was entirely possible she’d nodded a sleepy assent, presuming this to be yet another dream. However, the more she came to know her new husband, the less she believed it. He wasn’t the type to ask, he was the type to assume. To insist.She soon sought refuge from the life she’d sleepwalked into, (or rather been led into, unable to protest) with other needles. Among the many innovations she was expected to be grateful for – her husband constantly told her he’d not only saved her life but (to hear him tell it) singlehandedly whisked her out of the dark ages – these needles, with their sweet doses of oblivion almost as deep as the slumber she had enjoyed before her rude awakening, were the ones she loved the most. After a while, though, she hated being enslaved by both the drugs and her marriage, she kicked the habit and shinned down the climbing roses that still covered the palace walls. The thorns that tore her skin and the cold moonlight made her feel more awake than ever before.
Far from the castle she’d grown up in, scarred and scared the king would come to claim her, she found another kind of needle to help her lose the look of fugitive nobility and blend in with the scenery.
Now she is so wrinkled, she likes to say she looks every day of her 173 years – and yet her skin is blooming. She’s wreathed her body in blood-red roses and long, sharp thorns. Whenever she starts to crave the sweet injected sleep she knows the buzz of her needle tracing yet more twisted vines on her sinewy old frame will shake her awake her again.
She doesn’t trust sleep any more.
Sarah Thomasin is a performance poet living in Sheffield. As well as saying poems out loud at every opportunity, they have had poems published in Now Then magazine, and in two English Pen collections, three Pankhearst Slim Volume anthologies (No Love Lost, Wherever You Roam, and This Body I Live In), The Sheffield Anthology (poems from the city imagined) and Poems For the Queer Revolution. They were also commissioned to create a limerick quiz about gender which appears in Kate Bornstein’s My New Gender Workbook. You can find Sarah online at www.sarahthomasin.com.