Disclaimer: Persuasion and all of it's characters and story lines belong to the lovely Ms. Jane Austen.
This has been swimming around in my head for weeks, so I've decided to bite the bullet and just get it out. Hopefully this version of Persuasion will stand out from the others that are floating around :)
It is un-Beta'd so I apologise if there are any mistakes.
As a kid I used to believe in true romance. I know what you're thinking, 'Big deal Anne, most young girls do.' I was in a whole different class of my own; I really took it to the extreme. Princess games? Check. Actively assessing the boys in my class for compatibility? Check. Comparing any male who showed any interest in me against the lead characters in stories and movies? You better believe I did. Wow, I kind of sound like an Alex Forrest in the making, but I wasn't really that... crazy. I just truly believed with all of my heart that somewhere out there was my 'Prince Charming' and that one day, after some trials and tribulations we would ride off into the sunset together and have our happily ever after. It's embarrassing to say, but that starry-eyed romanticism lasted right up until I was 20.
I think a lot of this fairytale day-dreaming was influenced by my mother. Eleanor Elliot was a woman who was known amongst her friends for being a level-headed, sensible woman but at heart she was a true romantic. She was forever reading books or watching movies that ended with the heroine getting her dream man and presumably living the rest of her life happy and loved. I think she was so attracted to these kinds of books and movies because her own life was somewhat of a disappointment when it came to love. Don't get me wrong, my mother loved my father, and he loved her, but Walter Elliot was not the great man she had spent her youth dreaming of.
My father is in no way a bad person. He's always been kind and courteous, he doesn't drink excessively or gamble and to think him violent is just ridiculous – like seriously ridiculous, but like everyone else on the planet he is flawed. To say he can be vain, superficial and materialistic is an understatement (a big one) and while he holds the illusion of being knowledgeable on many topics, questioning him about them reveals that the well of information isn't all that deep. So while Mum did love him and accepted him for who he was, it wasn't that all consuming love she so desperately sought.
Some of my fondest memories of my mother are of her, me and my sisters all cuddled up in her bed on cold days watching movies like 'Dirty Dancing', 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' and my personal favourite, 'Sleepless in Seattle'. Whatever, don't judge me. No matter how many times she had seen them, Mum's eyes would fill with tears whenever it seemed like things weren't going well for the young lovers on screen, even though she knew that everything would work out in the end. After the movie she would turn to us and say "Girls, I want you to promise me that you won't settle for second best. That you'll wait for the man who is your true love and once you've found him, hold on and never let go. You only get the one you know, so don't let him get away." We always promised, even Mary and she was too young to even understand what Mum was talking about.
Ultimately though, it was a promise I broke. Five years after my mother had passed away and just when I was starting to think that there was no 'special someone' out there for me, Rick Wentworth made his debut in my life. We met on the first day of a class we were both taking at college and what followed was a pretty intense, but relatively short, love affair. Rick was the one true love my mother had told me to hold on to, but instead I watched him walk right out of my life. I barely even tried to stop him from doing it.
Why? Because I am, to put it bluntly, a fucking idiot. Seriously. And now here I am four years later still alone and unloved. I've done some growing up over the years though and have come to the realisation that fairytales are full of shit. I know, shocker, right? There is no perfect man, no happily ever after. There's just a bunch of lonely people wandering around and some 'higher power' that keeps screwing us over. Well, that's my opinion on the subject anyway but I frequently get told that I'm a cynic. I prefer to think of myself as a realist.
Being the pessimist in the group is no fun so I'm trying to get out of this funk I'm in, really I am. But rebuilding your heart after it was ripped out and crushed takes time. Apparently, it takes a lot of time. I'd like to think I'm getting there though, wherever 'there' is. I know Mum would be pretty upset with me if she were alive to see what a gloomy dipshit her middle daughter had grown up to be. My only consolation is that I'm not the only person in my family she'd be upset with.
Whenever I let myself think about how everything has turned out, I always long for those days of my youth, when I thought I had the whole world in front of me and I couldn't wait to fall in love. I wish I could escape and go back in time to an age where I didn't realise that not all stories have happy endings.
Well, posting this is scary. Please let me know if you think it's worth me continuing, encouragement is a great motivator!