Princesses: Where are they now?
(Part five: Beauty and the Beast)
She’s aged well, the village gossips tell each other. Kept her figure too. Still lives up to her name. Such a pity, really, that she doesn’t make the most of it. So sad it never worked out with that lovely Prince. Or Gaston! Whatever happened to him? She had her pick! And now look! Still in her papa’s old tumbledown cottage (although it does look considerably smarter than it did in his day), still tinkering with his ridiculous contraptions (although the oven timer and shut off switch she sold the baker has cut down on accidents, and that what did she call it? Combine Scythe? She designed for the farm makes light work of harvest. In fact hardly a house in the village hasn’t got one of Belle’s inventions making life a little easier.
Oh, she’d loved the Beast, perhaps the way a captive loves her captor, just at first – nobody was calling it a healthy start to a relationship. But she’d come to love his roughness, the way his massive arms encircled her at night. The musky smell of his fur. His blazing eyes. When the spell was broken, and a pallid, blond youth stood in front of her… Well, it was safe to say the magic died.
He didn’t grudge her going. Their love had been real enough, while it lasted, to break the spell. For that he’d always be grateful.
She still visits the castle every now and then. More often than not to borrow a book.
She’s a funny girl, the village gossips say, because although her chestnut hair is streaked with grey now, to them she’ll always be little Beauty: the willful, bookish inventor’s daughter, who didn’t know a good thing when she had it.
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.