By Jason Nemec
What they never told you about me is that I didn’t want to be with him. Prince Charming, that is. It was all an act, every last bit of it. I mean, a guy who claims his last name is Charming? Come on. His real surname is Jenkins. First name Dave. Dave Jenkins. Some prince. Easy on the eyes, sure, but when you’ve been in this game as long as me, there’s only so much that cheekbones and a chiseled chin and washboard abs (whoopee!) can do for a girl. Outside of the fairy tale, he was a prick. Vain, of course, but also just stupid.
I asked him once where his money came from. I remember the day; we were poolside at the Westin in Miami, where we still spend most of the winter months. He laughed, tossed his hair, and said, “It is pointless to consider such things. Fortune shines upon the fairest among us.” Are you kidding me? What a douchebag. We’d been together for what seemed like an eternity by then, a result of the contract we signed to keep up appearances for as long as the general public wanted to believe in the happiness of celebrity, the idea that the rich are more satisfied than the poor, because of their Botox or their boats or their Vera Wang summer dresses. Well, I’m one of them, sweetie, and I can tell you: celebrity ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Why, just the other day, we were at a café in Paris, where Charming/Jenkins had again ordered the crappiest Bordeaux on the list, and I was just about to tell the waiter to bring the most expensive Chateauneuf du Pape he had, with one glass, when my husband—ooh, how that word makes my skin crawl—reaches over and—I swear he actually did this—cups my chin in his hand, turns my face to a paparazzo I hadn’t seen, and says, “Smile, dearest. That’s a good girl.” And there’s me, grinning like an idiot, spitting daggers at some moron with a Nikon.
But what about you? Sure, you weren’t the one who took the shot, but you’re there. I know you are. Somewhere on the other side of the glossy or the computer screen, pining over whatever it is you think I have. I can almost feel you. Your lust, your emptiness, your breath on my pixilated throat.
Jason Nemec is a Ph.D. student at the University of Cincinnati. His poems and stories have been published in magazines such as Meridian, Rattle, Nimrod, and Controlled Burn, and on the web at storySouth, Verse Daily, Switchback, and Tinge. He is at work on a novel.