“What do you mean?” Hans’s eyes narrow suspiciously. He anxiously wrings his purple cap in his hands, regarding me carefully. “I go outside all the time,”
“Oh, so you know magic then?” I ask curiously.
The words seem to shock Hans, and he edges backwards, as if I’m the one to be feared. His skin pales, and his eyes edge nervously around.
“Magic? No…of course not. It’s illegal.” Hans says softly, looking into my eyes.
“No, it’s not.” I laugh as if Hans is telling a funny joke, but Hans’s sombre expression makes me quickly stop.
“Rapunzel…everyone goes outside. Do you mean to say you’ve never been outside?”
I suddenly feel sickened, as if I’m going to fall over. The room seems to sway around me, making me feel on edge. My head tries to make sense of his words. It must be a joke. It must.
“What a good joke. Now, you must leave.” The words catch in my throat and I will myself to not cry. Hans must know magic-and he must be lying to me. Mother would never keep me from the outside world if it was safe.
Sadness floods me. Mother was right-Hans may not be evil, but he’s certainly scheming. The second person I’ve ever met is a liar. The idea fills me with dread. Is the whole world like this?
“I’m not joking!” Hans cries out, looking both shocked and disbelieving. “Rapunzel-you have to listen to me. People go outside all the time. It’s safe. Who keeps you here? Why are you being kept here? What do they-“
“Get out!” I shout, and suddenly everything is silent. The silence seems to take up the room, and push us further apart.
Hans regards me, his eyes full of sorrow.
“You don’t understand, do you? You are being kept here by someone, I know it. They have no right. Do you even know who I am?”
I shake my head, tears filling up in my eyes. I edge further away from Hans, wanting him to leave. Mother was right. I should’ve never let him in. I do not want to know who he is, or how he could help me. I do not need help, especially from a perfect stranger, who I stupidly let into my home.
“I’m Prince Hans Siedel…my father is the ruler of this Kingdom. If you come with me, I promise you that you will be safe. I promise.”
“How can I trust you?” I say scathingly, gesturing around me. “How can I believe that you are a Prince? You are a liar, Hans…if that is your name. Mother loves me. She’d never lie, and now I know you are one of those evil, crooked people she warned me about. No, I’ve never been outside…but I know that you are lying, and you know magic. Mother is honest and truthful.”
One part of me disagrees with what I’m saying. How can I know what is the truth, and what is a lie? Hans seems so honest and genuine…but Mother does not lie. I’ve spent fifteen years abiding her rules, and following her words. Why would she keep me from going outside?
Hans shakes his head sadly. “I know I can’t make you understand. But, Rapunzel…you must know that this is wrong. You shouldn’t be locked up in here-it’s wrong, and it’s immoral and....”
“Get out,” I whisper furiously, wanting him to leave me alone once more. I crave the silence of my tower, knowing it is only me inside. Cursing my stupidity, I spit more words out. “You are no longer welcome.”
Hans regards me sadly, full of sorrow. I don’t need his pity. He turns on his heel, and is suddenly gone. I can hear him making is way down the tower, hearing the sounds of struggle from even inside the tower. I close the shutters with an air of finality.
The cool air in the tower makes me shiver, matching the atmosphere left in Hans’s wake. Why would he lie? He seemed so unlike the people Mother would describe to me in her harsh stories.
Loneliness is the worst emotion. It pulls at the essence of who you are, and it keeps pulling until all the loose threads are untangled: leaving a bitter shell. I’d forgotten my loneliness in the brief time I had with Hans. It was filled with something more. Was it a feeling of longing or perhaps a feeling of deep satisfaction? I’ll probably never know.