When Pam was a kid she was obsessed with fantasy, the prospect of falling into another realm, one of magic and adventure was her guiding force for a long time. It was her escape route. The way out of her own head, her life. She knew that no matter how bad things got, she had these stories to carry her.
When she parted with them in exchange for a fairy tale wedding, married life, she knew it would be worth it. That the real magic is in her choice, and her choice was Roy. He was to be her prince, the one who would sweep her off her feet and solve all her problems, the one to make fantasy a reality. Oh, how wrong she had been...
She's set out on a quest to get better, to heal from the wounds he left. She has managed to gain new weapons against the pain, forging her own path that is proving itself to be rewarding, if not incredibly difficult. Beginning to become okay with nights alone and the uncertainty. Moving away from replaying the events of the past few months, of touching the spot where her ring should be, mourning two lost loves at once.
But then… she heard his voice. All gravely and broken, crossing miles just to break her heart all over.
She misses him in such an intense way, it was almost all consuming. A spell that won't seem to break. The anxious nights crept back into her routine, and she found herself embarking on a darker journey, one of unsent messages and phone numbers almost dialed. “I miss you, come home,” written and deleted more times than she can remember.
Sometimes, when the air in her lungs burns and she can't seem to focus on anything in particular, she lets her mind wander to what could have been, back to that night. She can see it clear as day. It's like the lakes her and Roy once swam in, so beautiful and bottomless, a labyrinth within itself.
If she had been honest, they would be together, he would be taking her out, filling the now void of her life with his charm. They would wake up next to each other, lazy kisses exchanged before reluctant showers. He would cook her breakfast, drive her to work, notice the little things again. He was always so good with little, she misses that.
If only she had been strong enough to say what she wanted. Maybe she wouldn't be a casualty of her own war, lost to the words she can’t take back, and the kiss that set her free.
It was draining her from the inside out, watching the love that was once reserved for her being so recklessly given to her, Karen. It was like a slight of a hand for him, making her laugh. The magic in his voice is enough to hypnotize anyone, even her. She knows it isn't about her, nothing is about her anymore. Long gone are the days of walking a tightrope together, finding little moments to catch their breath, aware that their relationship was timed to fall. Now she walks alone, feeling like the sole barrier of that night, and all the nights leading up to it.
She had worn his friendship as armor, using him to keep her safe in her darkest times. But now, as she's in the worst place she's ever been, drowning in the hurt, he's a state away. She's trying to build her own protection now, filling the gaps he left with the only thing she can rely on anymore, herself.
She nearly broke down in the dairy aisle when she realized it. It's June tenth, which should be her wedding day. But instead of preparing to become Mrs. Roy Andeson, she's buying yogurt to eat in the car before work.
“Oh how the mighty have fallen,” she thought to herself, grabbing the mixed berry chobani from the cooler, and making her way to the check out.
It would have been a fairytale wedding, if she went through with it. She was sure of it. The photos would have been framed over the mantle, the backdrop to a family she would never build, a life that she gave up. Regret is a funny thing, it hits her in waves, washing her away, only for her to crawl back, forcing herself to remain unchanged by the storm.
Her younger self would be disappointed by her today, upset that she gave up on her dream. The courage she was promised would come with age never finding her. She has to move on, it's the only way to beat this ache, to finish what she started.
She has to become the woman she always dreamed of being. One who can move mountains with a flick of her wrist, one who is respected far and wide, one who can overcome the great challenges life has to offer. The mage, the magical being of her childhood dreams, her guiding force once again.
She bought new clothes, took herself out, and decorated the empty spaces in her home. Finding her magic in the way she can endure, the way she can persist through all the bulllshit. Midnights are now hers again, spent practicing her spells in the mirror, words she can speak to him, weapons of survival. When it became too much at work, she reminded herself that it can only get better, that it will soon end, this chapter of her life coming to a triumphant end.
It's her ultimate test, the final battle at the end of the war. She stood in front of him, sword drawn, ready to slay this thing once and for all.
“I called my wedding off because of you,” she told him, the truth hitting the cold night air like a bomb. He looked at her, trying to understand how to tell her it was too late, that he made his choice. But he didn't say a word, her triumph allowed it’s moment, burning brighter than the sun.
Later after she started her final wish, her battle scars cooling in the water, she let it hit her.. She did it, she won. Her grand adventure is over, and she is now Pam Bessly, the girl who survived. Fully herself once again, wearing her name with pride.
And in the end, she did get her fairytale, because she fought for it. Going into battle for the love of her life, laying her heart on the line in hopes of getting everything she wanted. Her magic lay in her words and not a sword, her heart strings gold and silver with strength. The mage and her man, their love forcing a garden from the ashes, a life she could only ever dream of materializing in front of her.