There once was a princess, humble and modest. She fell for a pauper, stubborn yet independent. He adored her in every way possible, her beauty, her smarts. After all, she was to be queen. She liked to think she loved him equally, but alas he felt this was not possible. The King and Queen told her she was too good for him, but she insisted this was not so. He was respectful, he was charming. Every time one questioned their love, the princess would laugh, for in her heart she knew she’d trade her life of luxury and wisdom for him without hesitation. What she did not see, was the monster growing inside him. For two years she continued to learn to be a queen, as the pauper pursued his own dreams. Perhaps he was not as smart as she, but he was a different kind of smart and for that she loved him all the more. What she failed to see was the little monster, growing and feeding off the tiny portion of doubt and insecurity that remained in the pauper’s heart. It went on until he was consumed. But she did not realize the pauper had mistaken her silence for a scream.
One day she looked upon his face, the same face she looked upon every day, the handsome face she’d memorized every aspect of. She met his eyes and saw…a stranger. Fear took hold of the love that had once filled her heart to the brim, for he was hollow. In that moment she felt the connection between them shatter. She stood on the stoop of the castle and watched him walk away, knowing she had lost him forever. He had loved her so much that it broke him; he’d convinced himself it was never enough. He’d let the despair and resentment whittle away at him until their love was no competition. All because he was too proud to ask if their love was true.
Doubt was evil, pride too strong for the will of the heart. Little by little his dreams fell by wayside as hers grew stale. In a perfect world they’d be together, but reality was not so kind. Happiness meant nothing to her, as it was no longer achievable. She was nothing without her pauper, and he nothing without his princess. And he, a changed man. Change for the worse. A nasty little monster that pride is.