The following afternoon, my phone still strongly silent, I sat on the couch with Emily watching Snow White, and listening to the same song I heard in my mind the night before. Our entertainment had been a coincidental choice by Emily but I couldn’t help see the ‘sign’. Had my prince come? My phone said otherwise. Then as though by some divine force, my phone in fact rang, as Miss White pranced across the screen. I leapt off the couch and muttered ‘I’ll be right back’ to Emily and skipped into the other room.
“Hello,” I tried to sound casual but failed miserably.
“Maddie.” Am I correcting him?
“Sorry, Maddie. It’s Toby, from last night.” As if I could forget.
“Oh, hi.” Better.
“I would have called sooner but being Sunday I didn’t want to ring too early.”
“That's very considerate of you.” I was pleased with my flirtatious tone.
“To be honest, I just got up.”
“It’s,” I paused to check the time. “Two o’clock in the afternoon.”
“I need my beauty sleep.” I laughed. That was the last thing he needed. “Are you free next Saturday night?”
“Great. Where do I pick you up from?”
I gave him my address and the directions required to find the townhouse I shared with Julia amongst the myriad of houses in the estate.
“Wear a dress, and bring a light jacket.”
“Okay. You’re not going to tell me where we're going?”
“No, it’s a surprise. See you Saturday.”
“Who was that?” Lizzy said startling me.
“Come on, you know I live my life precariously through you now.” Though my older sister by five years had the perfect life, she still loved hearing about what she considered the joys of dating. Thus far I’d found no joy. Lots of waiting for calls, disastrous dates and unfulfilled dreams more like.
“His name is Toby.”
After Lizzy expunged appropriate details from me, I settled back to enjoy the rest of the movie, to become caught up, yet again, by the uncomplicated pleasures of romance and song. Things were so simple for them. Dancing around, singing about love, waiting for their prince to rescue them from whatever dilemma they found themselves inadvertently in. Is that what I wanted? To be rescued? Yes. Who doesn’t? As a child this was instilled in me. We will find the right man, the one who changes it all. Toby. He certainly fit the bill, my favourite Disney prince beautiful. How could I refuse? Yet somehow warning signs went off. Why was he interested in me? Sure, I knew on a good day, with the right shade of eye glitter, I could look ‘pretty’ in my own way but Milla Jovovich I’m not. So Toby’s noticing me more than surprised me as my behaviour showed at our meeting. Why me?
“Here he comes,” Emily gasped beside me and I averted my attention back to the television to watch as Snow White was kissed by her prince. This led me to how I came to this, sitting with my adorable niece as we thought about fairytales and happy endings. Had I always been this way? I didn’t think so, yet, it had surfaced all by itself at first sight of him. Where had it come from and should I be entertaining it? Sam would tell me, ‘No! All men are the same. They only think about a few things and not much else’. Feelings, if even there, according to her, rarely surfaced. You would need a diving team to retrieve them. I didn’t want to believe that. I felt something else, more than the usual, the extra flourish. Maybe it was chemistry. Maybe I’d always felt this way. Perhaps I was feeling particularly whimsical because Eric came out of the screen. The thing was, this was real life and I’m not a mermaid.