How The Italian broke my heart (part 4)

photo made by Diane Lee

For a year, the princess and prince continued their relationship, and they fell deeper and deeper in love. They spent as much time together as they could, but something was niggling the princess. They only spent time at her castle. In a year, she had never spent time at his. And while the princess had met the prince’s friends (who really only consisted of the members of the band that he played in) and some of his seven brothers and sisters, she had not met the prince’s parents. She felt like she was a secret.

The prince explained to the princess that his parents were old and didn’t speak English. And they depended on him to look after them because he was the only one of their eight children who was not married. It was because of this, that even though he had built his own castle across the road from them, he still lived in their castle. The prince’s mother still cooked, cleaned and looked after him. And he had never brought any other fair maiden home to meet them. Ever.

It took another few months of cajoling until the prince finally introduced the princess to his mother, the queen bee, and his father, the silent king. It was gradual at first, but eventually the princess was integrated into the prince’s family. She dined at Friday night feasts, helped make pasta sauce, went along to birthday and Christmas celebrations. She thought she had been more or less assimilated into the prince’s immediate family. And she enjoyed their camaraderie, and familyness, because it was so unlike her own.

(Before meeting the prince’s parents, the princess started learning the language of the queen bee and the silent king. Every Monday night for three hours, the princess went back to school. And that’s not including homework and assignments. The princess wanted to prove she was prepared to make an effort, because the prince was concerned she would not be accepted.)

But the queen bee was not impressed that the prince had chosen the princess to be his partner. The queen bee did not like it that the princess was five years older than the prince, and that the princess had a child out-of-wedlock. The queen bee was wily. She didn’t tell the prince of her doubts. She tricked the prince into believing that she was weak and needed him. And the prince was hardwired in such a way that he did not question the queen bee’s tricks. The queen bee used their family routines and perceptions that she was weak and vulnerable to control the prince. She used her cunning ways to wrestle the prince away from the princess.

(Over time, the princess also noticed that the prince’s overnight stays lessened. The prince explained that he had to be near the queen bee to help her because she was weak and old and needed him. Also, overnight stays were frowned upon by the queen bee because they were unmarried and it was improper.)

The prince’s brothers and sisters did not help matters. They were relieved that the queen bee relied on the prince so much because it allowed them to live their own lives in peace. After all, if the prince did everything for the queen bee and the silent king, there was no need for them to be involved, right? They could just get on with things on their own terms.

More time passed, and the princess was feeling increasingly isolated and alone. It was clear that despite the love the prince and princess had for each other, the queen bee and the way she had constructed her family psychologically was a much more powerful force. And despite the princess bringing the situation to the attention of the prince, he was powerless against the queen bee’s wiles.

The prince gradually changed his routine. He would drop past the princess’ castle on his way home from work,  spend an hour with her (if she was lucky), then have  his evening meal with the queen bee.  The prince would take the queen bee shopping on Saturdays.  He picked olives with the queen bee instead of going on holidays with the princess. The silent king had moved into a nursing home, and the prince took the queen bee to visit the him frequently. The princess felt increasingly uncomfortable spending time with the prince at the queen bee’s house because she was ignored by the prince as he tended his mother and her whims.

The prince became quite confused during this time, of course, and talked a lot about his demons, which were actually the  feelings of guilt and obligation that the queen bee had programmed into him (and her other children to a lesser extent). Unfortunately, he was unable to deprogramme himself, despite  numerous counselling sessions with various wizards and witches, which the prince and princess attended together.  So the princess saw less and less of the prince, but it was not her choice.  It became easier for the prince to disappoint the princess and let her down, than disappoint the queen bee. The queen bee was winning the war for his attention and his affection. The princess was losing.

The princess felt like she was the other woman in the relationship. She had never felt so alone and lonely in her life.

<< Part 3 | Part 5 >>

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