Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m kidding myself or keeping hope alive. Or do they amount to the same thing?
Oh well. For what it’s worth, I’m writing.
This piece comes from a combination of prompts. I think one was about a one-sided dialogue. You hear what one character says but not the other. And the other prompt was about writing a famous story from another character’s point-of-view. So I wrote about the queen’s servant in Snow White giving an interview to a reporter curious about the birth of the royal child. Here’s a rough draft.
“I got no time to stand here gabbing, but if you insists, I’ll tell you a thing or two. What I can, of course, without speaking out o turn. Now what is it? What’s burning a hole in your gullet to know?
Yeah. Yeah. I knew all about Her Highness and her endless mewing for a babe. Drove me right mad, she did, asking for potions and tricks and making me say spells over her belly. Queens are silly creatures. Don’t get me wrong. The Queen was all right as far as queens go. She wasn’t given to whipping us for sending up her tea too cold, and we were much grateful for that.
I coulda told you the day I first set eyes on her that she wasn’t up to birthing so much as a pea. You ain’t seen as many queens and their kin as I have not to spot these things. And she wasn’t ever gonna be the one getting up in the middle of the night, and honest as I’m standing here, I’m glad I never gonna witness that baby spit up on a royal gown.
Queens don’t know the first thing about babies. They don’t got to know, do they? I don’t mean to sound hard-hearted. It’s sad to be without your mama even if you’re a princess, and I’m sure the child’ll get her share of trouble, but her hands’ll stay soft, won’t they? She’ll have enough gowns and furs for more winters than we’re ever gonna see. So yeah, she’ll be sad, but we all got to be sad from time to time, even daughters of kings. But you and I both know that man is gonna be hunting a new wife before they finish digging this one’s grave, and I bet your weight in apples, a new wife’ll have nothing to do with that infant. I’ve seen it before.
I’ve done said enough. I still got blood to wash up and I got to do it all myself because its the blood of a queen and you can’t trust folks like you used to. Then I got to tend to that baby. Girls in the kitchens help, of course. They’re eager, most of them, but they got to next to no experience with newborns, and this being a princess…well, good heavens and the seven saints, she’s got to live at least until her daddy finds a new queen and makes another brat. Don’t misunderstand me. I’ma really not hard-hearted, this heart o mine’s only about half stone at this point. This job does things to you, I can’t even begin to explain.
So I’ll be washing up blood and praying. I’ll tell you what. I’ll say a prayer for you and your damn nosiness. I’ll say a prayer for my old bones to get me through this night without being blamed for what I had nothing to do with. God in heaven, I told her to let the concubines have the babies. Not like she couldn’t taken one of them after all. She’s the damn queen. Was the queen, I mean. Was. Hard to be queen when you’re dead. Ugh. What a mess.
Where was I?
You got anymore questions? Spit em out before I get tired of you being in my way.
Yeah. Yeah. Babe’s with the wet-nurse. Some folks say the wet-nurse’s also a witch, but I don’t care two figs. Honestly, I’ll tell you like I’d tell God, I can’t afford to care about an infant princess who might die before the month is out. Might do that princess some good though to have witch’s milk soaking her insides. People don’t treat witches like they used to, do they now?
Thanks for reading.