Mother says you cannot remember memories from the first few years of your life. I can’t-my earliest memory is the time when I dropped my doll from the window that sits in the main room. Mother was not present, and filled with fear and europhia, I sat on the window ledge, ready to jump down and retrieve it. Of course, I didn’t know that the jump would kill me from such a height. Being four years old, nothing stuck in my mind. I was about to do it, and get my beloved doll back, but I felt a bony hand on my shoulder. I turned, and Mother was looking down on me-her face full of anger mingled with fear.
Back then, I didn’t know the outside world was dangerous. My fair skin would be burnt to a crisp in seconds in the sun’s rays, and if that were not to happen I would be attacked by the ravaging animals or the dangerous people who roam around, who have learnt the magic like Mother and can stay safe in the sun’s rays. Another reason is that the bandits that scavenge the land look for girls with blonde hair just like me. Blonde hair is rare, Mother says, and those with it will be captured and turned into slaves or something awful. Mother can go out, because her magic protects her. But until I’m old enough to learn magic like Mother has, I can’t go out. The outside world used to fascinate me. I used to dream of scooping up handfuls of dirt, and feeling it in my hands and making plaits with long grass strands. That was until I realized the true dangers of outside my tower.
However, I digress. Although I have no memories before the age four, I have one recurring dream at the moment. It’s not much-just the feeling of harsh coldness and the distant sounds of rain pattering. I can tell I’m being held in someone’s arms-maybe as a baby. A pained voice whispers over and over again to me, “Mother loves you.” And then the dream ends, leaving me confused and questioning. It can’t be Mother-because her voice is sharp and strict. This voice is the opposite: soft and musical. Besides, I’ve never met anyone else in my entire life before. I know the dream is a figment of my imagination; probably something I conjured up in a game as a child. I daren’t ask Mother her opinion on this dream as she’ll laugh it away, and ridicule me for being so silly.
In the day time, I get ever so lonely. Mother is the only person I talk to, yet she visits every night and leaves me alone during the day. She brings me food, and more clothes and keeps me company for a few hours before leaving again, leaving my tower empty except for myself and a few possessions. During the day, there isn’t much to do. Everything I’ve done has fallen into overuse-the books Mother bring me have been so much that their pages have yellowed and torn, my paints have long since dried up and as remnants from my disastrous gardening attempt I have a few shrivelled dandelions, showing how bored and how bad I am at my several hobbies.
For this very hour in the morning, I usually lie in my small bed until I can’t bare it much longer. I hate silence. It seems to gather tension, as if something bad is going to happen. However, the time between you have just woken and remain unaware and the time when you become fully conscious is sacred. I have no idea how long I’ve been blissfully curled up here for: the thin purple duvet from my youth tangled around me. My hair, which reaches all the way around the main room and back three times, falls off the bed and remains where I threw it last night: tangled on the beams, making a pattern before the hair flow stops and reaches me once more.
I don’t know what time it is. Time passes slowly, seeming to tease me at times. However, the light in my room keeps getting ever brighter and the beam of sunlight from the window keeps getting in my eyes, leaving an eerie pattern whenever I look at something else. Nearly noon, I suppose. I push myself up, my arms stiff from hours of lying on them. I look around my room, which consists of only my bed which is pressed up against the peeling baby blue wall, and a wardrobe standing idly next to the bed. I shake my arms out, yawn and pad in my pearly white nightgown, walking down the only staircase which winds round the circle room, down into the main circle room.
In this room, there are the hearth and stove; a rocking chair, a wooden table and a couple of matching chairs, a bookcase full of magical books for Mother and some storybooks for me, a box full of my hobbies and random items and a cupboard full of cleaning and maintenance supplies. It gets ever so lonely without Mother. Up until the age of twelve, Mother stayed here with me, leaving sometimes to get supplies from the market. When I turned twelve, she sat me down and told me that I needed to learn to be independent, and now she visits at night.
I dress in my standard purple daisy dress which falls to my ankles. My hair follows me around the room, and I try not to let it bother me. The golden strands tickle my feet when it passes. I begin to brush some of my hair, standing in front of the mirror. It is a tedious task. I’m not ever allowed to get my hair cut: Mother says my hair is precious, and people ‘outside’ will go to any means to get it.
I stare at myself in the mirror; staring at the soft features. My name is Rapunzel. I have a round, soft face and my skin is a pearly white. I have long, long golden hair that can stretch at least ten metres. I have rosebud lips and big, blue eyes framed with thick, black eyelashes. My cheeks are permanently rosy, and when I smile I have defined dimples. The only person I’ve ever seen in my entire life is Mother, and she is classically beautiful; with shoulder length, straight black hair, sharp cheekbones and grey, striking eyes. Mother is scarily beautiful; looking evil opposed to trusting, like me. We are opposites: but I do not know which of us is normal.
I have nothing else to do. Everything I’ve ever done before has been repeated numerous times: every book I’ve read has been etched into the inside of my brain; every hobby appears dull and bland as it’s been repeated a million times. My circular home sometimes feels like a prison. I can’t escape.
I live in a Tower. The door was covered and sealed off many years ago, to prevent evil getting to me. The only way down is to climb the ivy-scaled Tower, or like Mother to hold onto my long hair and slide down or be pulled up. It used to hurt, minimal pain, when I was younger. Now, I barely feel the pain of human weight. I know every foot of my Tower to perfection: the crumbling walls and the aging wooden floors.
My hair makes a sliding noise on the floor as I walk over to my bookshelf and select Romeo and Juliet; deciding today I will read it for the umpteenth time. Out of all the books I have, it is my favourite. Well, it isn’t a book. It’s a script, but it tells the same story of any of my books. I sit on the only window: on the ledge. It’s precarious, but my hair has been looped several times around the hook that sits next to the window. If I fell, I wouldn’t fall far. Out of the window, I can see for miles. I can see dark woodland, and rolling hills and lush lakes. At night, I can see a soft orange sunset. Mother says the World taunts you, looking beautiful but really it is evil.
I flick open the book, trying to be careful as not to tear the ageing pages. I lose myself in the place of fantasy; trying to loose myself. I can imagine if these people were my friends: with Juliet I could brush my hair and make up a dance, and with Romeo I could paint a thousand paradises. My ache for someone my age is excruciatingly painful. I’d give anything to be friends with someone my own age; that must be hid away in their own Tower like mine, and to talk to them and just understand I’m normal. You can never know. I could be strangely abnormal, but until I can go out and be safe I won’t know.
Mother says love is evil. She scoffs Romeo and Juliet, saying love is an illusion. Love takes away your true self, robbing and stealing until only a fragile, incomplete person is left. From my books, love seems deep and essential: something to complete a person. I might never know love. I feel love for Mother, but can you only love one person for seventeen years? Spending lonely days and watching sunsets alone gets tiresome, without someone to spend it with.
All these books to escape to can be marvellous: but they are just fiction. No one my age is safe ‘outside’. The authors lie: why would Juliet or Romeo be safe outside without the cover of magic? Love could just be another danger of the world.
Inevitably, when I finish the book, I am alone once more.