QUALCOSA DI VERO
If you get home drunk in the dead of night, you risk stumbling over anything: the shadowy main entrance, the last step or a misplaced doormat.
But if your name is Giulia, you are a forty-year old copywriter and your life is purposefully child-free, you may even trip over a nightie with a little girl inside. For Rebecca, the new neighbor’s daughter, is locked out of her home. And she doesn’t know how to get back in, nor where to sleep, since her mum is away.
So, ignoring the whiff of alcohol and being careful not to wake the old actor next door – who has an annoying habit of popping up from nowhere reciting Shakespeare – you can even put up Rebecca on your sofa for one night. Just one night. But soon you find yourself caught up in fairy tale sessions, unbeknown to the child’s mother, every evening when Rebecca remains mysteriously alone. And from Cinderella to Tom Thumb, from Rapunzel to the Little Mermaid, you tell Rebecca the true versions. Those by Andersen, the Brothers Grimm or Perrault, where frogs turn into Princes only if you throw them against a wall, where a half-sister cuts off her heels just to marry the heir to the throne, and where what wakes up Sleeping Beauty is not a kiss.
But if your name is Rebecca, you are nine years old and you recently moved into town, you can tell those «fairy tales for grownups» during recess at school, and maybe impress the others, getting Daniele involved too, your quiet desk mate who loves drawing and dragons. That’s provided that there isn’t a Gilda del Cerchietto with her little fan group, who’s ready to challenge you with Disney’s fake versions.
Perhaps you’ll persuade your «Fairy Tale Lady» Giulia that, although there is no Prince Charming in real life, Mr Right is closer than she thinks. Perhaps.
But what you don’t know yet is that truth has a price. Not only because there’ll always be someone ready to believe in princesses and the tales that everybody tells. But also because even in the funniest stories hides an ogre, a bugbear or a Bluebeard. And to defeat him, words are not enough.