Saturday, April 16, 2011

Non-Fiction, First place!

Of Camelot
Caitlin Smith
I fell in love when I was twelve. Not yet sporting the braces and spectacles that mark adolescence, I had every hope in the world of attracting this young Arthur, this boy who seemed the very epitome of Camelot. Growing up, I read fairy tales, watched Disney movies, and convinced myself that life has a happily ever after; my career aspirations moved from being a princess through mere-dreams still softly bubbling and landed in the range of dolphin trainer/glamourous actress/small business owner. And then my prince walked into the classroom. My heart stopped, my eyes fixed on his perfect sixth-grade self, and I felt the universe shift. This was love.
Being the new girl in a school with less than sixty people in the grade means everyone knows your name first. And who you like second. I tried to ask his name discreetly, I tried not to memorize his birthday on the birthday chart, and I tried to not instantly find him in whatever room we both were in. I failed miserably. Still, he was the very essence of a school-girl-worthy crush. Tall and handsome, he towered over the other boys (he even shaved! In sixth grade! He shaved…) He had laughing blue eyes, Matthew-Mcconaughey-curly blonde hair, and an infectious grin. Good at school and better at sports, he was a prince among peers. Alas, Arthur does not love Nimue. Instead he found a Guinevere—willowy, blue-eyed, blonde, and beautiful, as talented an athlete as he and sweet on the side. After three years of sighing, giggling, spying, and convincing my friends to ask him to ask me to dance (ah, the bliss of junior high dances), I picked my weary heart off the ground and turned to other interests.
A squire and a page courted me later, and I learned to ignore the prince and became my own vibrant lady. But one can hardly be distracted by squires and pages when one has loved a prince! And so I set out for college, leaving junior high dreams and high school distractions behind, embarking on a journey to become mistress of my future! To learn, to grow, to forget about boys until I fully reached my potential! (Or if God brought the right one along, of course.) Until I met him.
Merlinus Ambrosius, a towering paragon of perfection in my mental Logres. A scholar and an actor, devoted to the good of mankind with all the wit and cleverness I could ask. Tall, dashing, and brilliant, he began simply as a friend and comrade. Before long, though, I found myself drawn to him—his complete adoration of God, his wisdom, his cleverness, his open laugh, and his dapper air. I languished, living for one more chance to make him laugh, one more day to see the bright green eyes. I was certain this was the epic romance I longed for. No boy-king could add up to the tall, proud figure of my Merlin and what kind of Merlin would he be to not be enamored by his faithful Nimue?
I straightened my hair for him, found cute outfits, and made sure to always bring witty repartee along when I knew he would be about. Dedicated to God, he was the only one to remove his mortar-board hat for the prayer at graduation and my heart completely abondened my chest. He once wore green—just the color of his eyes—specifically because I asked why green was his chosen color. I knew he was the perfect man. And I just knew that deep down he liked me too…
Alas, Merlin learned the last time around. Nimue was not, apparently, the ultimate good for him. Or maybe I am not Nimue. As I reflect upon my two great loves, those that wrenched my heart from me with a mere glance, those whom I dreamt about, languished for, giggled in front of, and generally fell to pieces over when they did not return my passions, I wonder if I was wrong from the beginning. In this grand tale, another woman strides forward, one who is alone and watching, always watching. I think I know how she felt, though perhaps I can find her redemption. What if Morgan were remembered not for her rage and jealousy, not for her utter lonliness, but for another great love? A greater love? Perhaps I can supersede my celestial dreams with a heavenly reality. Then mayhap I can embrace the name I knew to be mine even in the days when I dreamed of being a princess, of wearing floaty dresses and high heels—though I spent more time arranging things behind the scenes.  Can I embrace a destiny entirely of my own? Not tied up to any love other than that Supernatural Force, the Supreme King of the Universe, the most Holy Heavenly being, but submitted to the one highest power? For I am more of Morgan le Fay. Fata Morgana. Morgan, the Fate. And the future awaits.

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