It’s the bits the stories don’t tell you: that’s where the Happy is.
So: the day Rapunzel went to the hairdressers and asked for a trim, and walked out realising for the first time what it was not to trip over your own hair; that was a good day.
And when she stood outside, feeling the lightness at the nape of her neck and the Spring sunlight on her tower-pale skin, and thinking she might not take a carriage home but might walk back for the hell of it.
And when she got back and her hair smelled of hay and she sought out her Prince and they gazed into each other’s eyes and hugged so that they almost felt like one person and he said: go and put your posh frock on, Baby, and get the Ladies In Waiting to paint your nails: we’re going to the ball tonight.
Happy was feeling the swish of that frock which accommodated those imperceptible extra curves and not only that but celebrated them, because Hell, 26 years is a very long time to be stuck up a tower with one embittered insane old woman for company and at last a girl can eat, can’t she?
And the best bit of Happy in that whole Happy day was afterwards, when everyone went home, and there was just her and the Prince and it was bedtime. And being a princess meant a kick-ass huge four-poster Bed With Acreage, and servants to bring you Supper and later, after a night of exploring uncharted and delightful territory with a man who knew how to treat a women and a woman who knew how to treat a man, Breakfast in Bed.
They don’t tell you that stuff in the fairytales.
They don’t tell you about the other bits either: about when Rapunzel or her Prince were poorly or ill, or just plain grumpy, and sniping could be heard in the royal chambers: but nor do they tell you that the servants knew that when they heard discord ,they would run a sweepstake as to how long it would be before the pair came away beaming.
It was never long.
A year ago I was side-saddle on a hurricane, riding one of those situations most of us just pray will pass us by: my husband left, and I became a single parent. I hung onto my children in a bid to keep them steady.
Writing became an add-on to a life which was veering crazily all over the shop, and I just held on for grim life.
And then, against all the odds, I met the love of my life.
And the Upside Down Life did not right immediately,a s you may well imagine: it became a veritable Dorothy’s House in the most almighty twister you can conceive of, but inside the house my eyes widened and my heart sang, there travelling in crazy circles high above Everyday Folks.
The Celt – who is skilled in matters of the heart and spirit, and has a fleet mind and – this on the side – a compelling physical presence, was there with me in the House. Strange as it may seem he knew how to handle twisters, and deftly linked the house with the ground, tethering it with a rope; and he knew the currents of this giant air tunnel and rode them, really quite beautifully.
About two weeks ago, with the Celt’s help, the house set itself down.
I came out and have been gazing about in Dorothy-like wonder. And now I am past even that, and am in the Rapunzel stage. As I write, my Celt sits at his PC, researching like a Mad Researching Thing, and I for the first time since I can remember, am writing fit to burst, the words tumbling out like a stream which knows it has a bedrock.
Every story, from Grim to Grisham, has the mundane little moments: the bits they don’t tell you. The bits where the Happy lives.
And this is one of mine.