For my sweetheart, my darling, my love, my everything: Happy birthday. I tried to write you a fairytale. I hope you enjoy it even a fraction as much as I love all the things you write, and from the bottom of my heart, I love you.
Once upon a time —
(The best stories start with once upon a time. Sometimes it’s implied, but read close and you will see it, luring you in, saying it’s okay, let go, join me. Even the true tales draw you in with once upon a time. Perhaps it’s a better statement for the true tales than the false ones, but is any tale ever entirely false?)
Once upon a time there was a storyteller.
Like all the most interesting people, ve was complicated, much more than one thing: Ve was a home, lived-in and well-loved, stairs well-worn and doors that you have to open right to keep from creaking; ve was a cat and a fae one and a creature of the forest and a muse, and ve was a million other things as well, but for the purposes of this story, we will say that ve was a storyteller and leave it at that.
(Storytellers come in many shapes and fashions, and they tell their stories in many ways, but you will know them all the same ways: They tell stories even when they aren’t meaning to, drifting into them as easy as breathing, and not letting stories out would kill them, slowly but surely. It may not stop their heart from beating, but it would kill them all the same.)
And there are so many stories that can be told about the kinds of people that are a million things at once. There are the stories of the things ve has done and seen and heard. There are the stories of the stories ve has told and the effects they have on the people who hear them, because a story can change your life or change your mind or change your mood or change your day, and all of them are important, because a great storyteller — and ve was a great storyteller, born with stories carved in their bones and ver tongue shaped to strange words, like all the best storytellers are — can make you believe in impossible things at least as long as a story lasts, if not longer. There are the stories of the things ve was, to verself, to others, to the world. But this is not the story I’ve come to tell you.
(There’s one story here that I’d like to tell you, though, hidden in the folds and weaved through with the first, and it goes like this: Once upon a time, someone fell in love with the storyteller, fell hard and fast and deep enough to drown, and the miracle, because love is always a miracle, is that they were loved in return. And they lived happily ever after, happy to be each other’s even if they weren’t happy with the rest of the world; and they lived creatively ever after, and silly ever after, and supportive ever after, and together ever after.)
No, the story I’ve come to tell you is simple.
Once upon a time, there was a storyteller. Ve was a beautiful person, amazing and wonderful, who brought light to all those lucky enough to be in ver life. Ve told amazing stories, and made amazing bonds, and grew, and changed, and enjoyed, and fought, and survived, and was.
And ve lived happily ever after.