Once Upon A Pre-Covd-19 Time

Once upon a time there lived a young adult named Charlotte. Right before her loving mom died, Charlotte was given the family heirloom, a prized sewing machine. Amidst all the junk that clogged up Charlotte’s cottage sat the blue, bulky machine. Charlotte made beautiful dresses from the machine; each one more intricate than the one before. Charlotte’s cottage was buried in the hillside. It smelled of mold and rotten chicken soup. All that was there was a small rusty cot, a narrow closet, a chipped kitchenette, her blue sewing machine, and tons of old dusty boxes filled with fabric. During the day Charlotte would steal loaves of bread from the town market, sharing the rations with the orphans nearby, and during the night she would sit at her sewing machine, stitching away. 

One day a mysterious man came to Charlotte’s home with a proposition. He had a strange familiarity. He had seen her stealing loaves of bread and wanted to make a deal with Charlotte. If she stole a necklace from a wealthy woman at a ball next week, then he promised to give her all the money from selling the necklace. Now although Charlotte was good, she also very poor. So, she paused thinking through the options in her mind, her face expressing confusion and discomfort. Then the mysterious man persuaded her by explaining that the small thievery she already committed was not much different from this task. Charlotte still wanted to follow the voice of her mother within her, and deny this proposal, but the rumbling of her stomach thought otherwise and triumphed.

The next day in town, Charlotte met the most charming man. It was love at first site. They spend the whole day and night together talking to each other. Then, Charlotte realized the man she now loved was the son of the women she must steal from. Charlotte began to sweat and very suddenly got up and ran home. She left the elegant and kindly man confused and alone. The rest of the night, Charlotte stayed up biting her nails and replaying the past two days in her head. She soon realized she could not steal the necklace. She had to tell the man she loved the truth. But thoughts like “what if he no longer loves me? And what if he thinks I’m no longer worthy?” filled Charlotte’s mind. She decided to wait until the next day to confess everything. 

As planned, the following day, Charlotte dragged herself to tell the man she loved the truth, but it was too late. The mysterious man had already exposed her! Charlotte’s suitor refused to speak and banished her from his home. After being kicked out and sobbing with tears, Charlotte yells at the mysterious man and asks him why he would expose her if it was him who wanted her to steal the necklace in the first place! He explained, “I knew you were not going to follow through now that you loved the son of the target. You were going to tell the man the truth, so I had to do it first to insure he would not forgive you. You hesitation with your confession made my job easier.” Charlotte paused and then responded, “I never expected you to be so vindictive.” “I am not trying to punish you I just don’t want to lose you again! I am your father Charlotte; your mom took you away from me when you were just three years old, and I couldn’t afford losing you a second time! The original plan was for the the stealing of the necklace to go smoothly and then for you to realize how much you needed me and enjoyed stealing as a team! But once it seemed like you were falling in love with a man, that meant you might not have time for me anymore. I had to take advantage of the situation in order to insure you would be mine.” In that moment, Charlotte thought her father was the most needy and sad person. She just wanted to be alone. Respectfully Charlotte spoke, “Father, we will talk about your faulted actions once I have slept. Come by tomorrow morning so we can talk.” 

After a full night of rest, Charlotte decided it was time to tell her father how she really felt: “Father, I must be an honest person; I understand you love me, and want to be with me, but I cannot be owned by anyone. I no longer desire to be apart of your schemes but I hope to know you better with time. I will continue to live my life alone for now.”

The next morning, Charlotte went to town to buy a few groceries with the money her father left for her. The night before with a boost of confidence from declaring her independence, she had spun her finest dress yet. At the market, a group of well-dressed women stared at Charlotte in her new dress as she passed. One older woman introduced herself and asks who designed Charlotte’s dress. Charlotte replied that she had made it herself. In that moment the older woman decided to hire Charlotte as her personal seamstress. The end.

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