Fairy Tales

by Geoffrey Philp


“With our fairy tale courtship and wedding, I never thought this would happen,” I said to my mother on the day after Michael and I had celebrated our tenth anniversary in her home.

Sunlight streamed through the kitchen window over the counter where my mother had cooked so many meals and where our family had cried, prayed, and laughed. My God, we laughed.

I felt like a little girl as I rested my head against her shoulder and rested my hands in her palms that still smelled like thyme, onions, and rosemary from the pot roast she had in the oven.

“Is he sorry?”

My mother gently eased my hands into her lap, lifted my chin, and then brushed away the tears from my cheeks.

“He’s the one who told me that he’d broken off everything with the girl. If he hadn’t told me, I don’t think I would’ve found out.”

“Do you still love him?”

I don’t know where I found the strength, or whether it was from my mother’s wisdom, honed in the kitchens of country women from Westmoreland and passed from hand to mouth, that after thirty years, three children, and two grandchildren later, Michael and I are still together.

“Fairy tales are one kind of story,” she said. “You and Michael have a different story. And if you still love him and he’s truly sorry for what he did, you’ll find that your own story is as real as any fairy tale. You’ll see, my child. You’ll see.”

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