T. A. Stanley
Did you know that in some versions of Sleeping Beauty he rapes her awake?
My date tells me this as if trying to truly understand me and spark some sort of interesting conversation on the nature of messed up fairy tale endings and the ways they may play out in contemporary expectations regarding romance, princes, and sleep.
He says, That's fucked up, right?
And of course, I have to agree. Yeah, that totally is. I say this to imply that I didn't already know this fact. I do this so that he can feel that he has added to my consciousness and that I am someone who can appreciate what he has to say. Like he's somehow improved upon my vast knowledge of the fucked-up-ness of the world and therefore my ability to live in it without being deathly afraid that a man might think he is fucking me into a new capacity for love and gratitude while I sleep in a curse of my own creation.
I don't know why I say it this way, but it may be because I'm lying and will always be lying. There's not much to do about it now. I smile blankly and drink my wine and think about what it would be like to sleep with this man or if I’d rather sleep alone and risk never waking up at all.
I go home with him and he insists on kissing me very softly throughout the whole affair. I will always wonder if this is what I want, if this is all there is. Like moss, my tendrils loosely attach to his surface afterwards when we curl around each other. He falls asleep easily and I am paralyzed with insomnia. It would be very easy for someone to peel me away.
T. A. Stanley lives in Brooklyn and is doing her best to get by. She has been published in The Atlas Review, Crack the Spine Literary Journal, The Bookends Review, Belleville Park Pages, and Anamesa: An Interdiscplinary Journal. For a good time, follow her on Twitter @ladytstanz.
Illustration by Keara McGraw.