By Leila Baez / Matthew staff
I am Rumplestiltskin, and I awoke in a strange place. I have managed to visit a multitude of places, but I have not seen this one. I am among giants, and I cannot move. The giants approach me and I am not quite sure how I will be dealt with. A man and two women loom above me as I lay flat, perhaps on a table. The man is smiling wide, talking in numbers, discussing a range of products. Photos, framed and unframed, posters, shirts, cups, blankets. I have been a pawn shop long enough to know I am some kind of object.
The older woman glances at me just once, the disdain clear on her face. It is an expression I have grown accustomed to, so I do not pay her much of my attention. The younger woman has a very different set of emotions on her face. To call her a young woman is likely a stretch, she does not look much older than my son. She is pleading with the older woman, whom I now know is the girl’s mother, to let me be bought. To let me come home with them. I cannot speak, move, or bargain either way, but every time the girl looks at me it is as if she can read my eyes. The legends all say the eyes are the windows to the soul, so perhaps that is it. Perhaps I, in whatever form I am, have a little fragment of my soul in my eyes, and thus the girl and I can communicate.
She knew I could not talk for myself, move for myself, care for myself. So she would have to. I could not remember the last time I had someone plead my case. She picked me up and showed me to her mother, making the older woman cringe with more emphasis this time. At that moment I saw where I would be doomed to go if the girl lost the argument. After a round of arguments a deal was made, something I am far too familiar with. I was purchased and the girl held me as if she was guarding a newborn. She held me that same way throughout the rest of her trip, even keeping me in her carry-on during the flight back to her home.
When she came home, she placed me on the countertop of her dresser and I overlooked everything. I do not know why she held me in such high regard, but it did not last long. A few months later the older woman came into the room on a rampage and pushed the dresser down, me falling with it. I watched from the floor as she continued tearing the girl’s room apart. Something about the girl being a useless slob because she was fat? Apparently the woman was unaware that a thin beauty standard is a recent concept. A little extra meat on the bones meant you could afford to eat, in my day at least.
After that, the girl never looked me in the eye again. She never looked any of her stuffed animals, posters, pictures in the eye. Eventually, she began taking things down and placing them in boxes. The day came that I, too, was placed in a box, wrapped up to be kept safe and to keep a cloth barrier between my gaze and hers. Now I remain here in the darkness, a perfectly familiar place. Perhaps, one day, I will see her again.