“That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.”
These words were first read to me by my mother. When I was five, my mom read me to sleep from Ella Enchanted, a once popular retelling of Cinderella. To this day, I don’t know why I became so captivated with the story. Maybe it reminds me of my mom or maybe I just love corny fairy tales. It’s probably the latter, but either way, my original copy of Ella Enchanted remains one of my most prized possessions. I have read its pages more times than I care to admit. I open it when I’m sad, bored, or just missing Ella. Ella has followed me to every dorm room, crappy apartment, across multiple countries, and now resides in the left hand drawer of my classroom desk.
Over many re-readings, Ella became a best friend, always there to make me smile. She was there when I fought with my brother, got dumped for the first time, got my first horrible grade in college, and had my first “teacher cry.”
Given our connection, it is fitting that Ella has aged as I have. Over the years, her pages have become wilted with tears, bath water, and a horrible habit of dog-earing. Her back pages have been torn out for late night games of MASH and used as an address book for faraway friends met at sleepaway camps. To be honest, Ella is barely holding on. Her pages are at risk of falling out and her cover has been taped back on numerous times. When the world switched to e-books, I got a digital copy of Ella Enchanted, but it wasn’t the same. I deleted it and added some more tape to Ella.
Despite Ella’s deteriorating condition, I still find comfort in her pages. I don’t know if I will ever outgrow Ella Enchanted, but I’m a little scared of the idea that I might. For now, I’m happy to reread and escape back to when I was five and was hearing each sentence for the first time.