How The Italian broke my heart (the final chapter)
For the longest time the princess was miserable. She wanted the prince to be her hero, to fight for her and their future, but he was unable. He was crippled by the twin demons of guilt and obligation that the queen bee had programmed into him. He was not strong enough to fight them. Or her. He believed he had no power.
The princess believed she was strong enough for both of them. She had invested in him and their relationship and she was determined to make it work. After all, it was a gift that they had been given a second chance in the first place. They owed it to the gods to give it all they had. To try until they could try no longer. But the princess tried so hard she lost herself. She squashed feelings of doubt way, way down deep within herself. She buried the questions and accusations and feelings of betrayal in a lead-lined tomb in the pit of her stomach. She became an emotional zombie, numb from pain, just existing. Merely surviving.
(But through the fog of emotional survival, she knew she missed what they had. The fun and spontaneity and primal attraction and deep connection had all but disappeared. The princess no longer trusted the prince. And with trust gone, respect followed suit. Then love. She knew, deep within the recesses of her soul that what they had was dead, never to be brought back to life.)
One cold, rainy June day, almost five years after they first met, when the prince failed to honour one last promise (to stay with her after an operation), the princess made her decision. She avoided the prince’s phone calls (she noted with great sadness that he did not visit) and used the time to contemplate the future of their relationship. She discovered that he had been absent for such a long time that he was now not necessary in her life. The prince had become an optional extra. Life without him would be very much the same as life with him (as it now was). He was not present, either emotionally or physically, so the princess decided it was time. She had to set herself free from the anger, frustration, betrayal and hurt that was her current existence. She was devastated that she should have to do so, that it should come to this, that this was the only choice left. The only decision she could make. And it was one of the hardest decisions she would ever have to make in her entire life.
The prince knew it was coming. The weather echoed their mood when they met for the last time. It was dark and wet and stormy. The princess gave the prince every chance to be her hero, to save what they had. But he could not. Would not. He admitted that he had let her down. He admitted that he was not ready for her. He admitted that because of his demons, he would always choose the queen bee over the princess. He admitted he loved his family more than her. The queen bee – until the day she died – would always be his priority. This, he discovered, would never change. Could not change. Ever.
That night, the princess’s heart finally broke. Over the last five years, it had been weakened by cracks of anger and eroded by loneliness. The structure had been damaged irreparably by disappointment. With that one final act of betrayal, her fragile heart shattered into a million pieces.
The prince had broken her heart.
It took almost two years for the princess to rebuild her life. Because of the decisions she had made while with the prince, she had no job, no money and hardly any friends. It was a mammoth task, but she did it. She realised that while her life had been turned completely upside down and inside out by the prince, his life was unchanged. He walked away unscathed. Untouched. Unharmed. She seethed at the injustice, the unfairness, for a long time. Gradually, as the foundations of her new life were laid, these feelings subsided until they were like ghosts of a life passed.
The princess scraped together the pieces of her heart, and duct taped and blue-tacked and soldered them together. She has a noticeable scar that will never quite heal, and which seeps ever so slightly whenever she sees the prince, which is not often.
The princess is single.
The prince married a nice Italian maiden a year or so after the princess broke up with him. It is unknown how happy – or otherwise – they are.