The Princess and Her Frog
She sat in the corner of her new room. It was bare and too white for her taste. But the people serving her were so nice that she did not have the heart to tell them to change the decor of the room. They even gave her a special jacket to protect her from the frog and promised her father they would take care of her.
Her father was a busy man and was rarely at home. Ever since she was ill, he had been paying more attention to her needs and deferred to her wishes. However, it would appear that her illness was too much for him.
At least, she could do whatever she wanted, unlike all those long years wasted on unnecessary activities. And currently, she was playing with her ball. She had always wanted to be a sportswoman, undecided between a tennis player and a volleyball player. She loved the idea of control and —
“What’cha thinking, princess?” a lilting voice interrupted her musing.
She froze. The frog was in front of her, its air sac expanding and contracting — in a frog-ish manner.
“No, you can’t be here,” she whispered. “You’re dead, you’re not here, you’re dead, you’re not here…” she chanted her mantra, believing her wish would be more sincere and thus, be granted quicker if her eyes were closed.
“Miss me, din’t ya?” the green frog hopped closer. “Why don’cha kiss me? You’ll feel all betta — Ack!”
“Go away!” She had thrown the ball at the frog in desperate hope that it would vanish.
“Aww, what’cha doing, me princess?” the frog was leaping at the same spot to her right. “Ya lurve me, admit it!”
She sobbed, making a mess of her face, as she flung the first object she laid her hands on.
Her aim was true when the object smacked the frog in mid-leap.
Panting, she looked around with wild eyes. The frog was nowhere in sight. She heaved a sigh of relief.
“Ah knew ya would miss me. How’ya feeling, me princess?” a brogue greeted from behind her.
She turned her head, one inch at a time. It would have provided much amusement and comic relief, were it not for the sheer look of terror on her face.
“Come play, me princess!” another frog croaked on her left.
“Over ‘ere, me princess!” yet another frog, balancing on the ball, rolled toward her.
“Kiss me, me princess!”
“Look at me, me princess!”
“Lurve ya, me princess!”
“Feed me, me princess!”
“Sleep wit’me, me princess!”
Her room was no longer bare and white; it was flooded with thousands of green frogs, all haunting her with requests and desperate for her attention. She gasped and curled into a tight ball, knocking her head steadily against the wall in prayers.
For a moment, it seemed to work. Then, a froggy voice cut through the chorus of requests.
“IT’S YER FAULT, ME PRINCESS!”
Her father stood outside her room. Tears made their way down his cheek, unchecked. He was watching his daughter banging her head against the white padded wall in a rhythmic pattern of a precise clockwork.
“Mr. Henry, as you can see, her situation remains the same. However, have faith. We’re quite optimistic that it will improve,” a man in a white coat droned on.
Mr. Henry, the father, did not reply. Hope is a double-edged idea at best, a summer breeze that reminds you of its presence by caressing your neck; the same summer breeze that reminds you just how hot you are.
Just seven months ago, his life was perfect. He had a fantastic career, a perfect wife and two beautiful daughters, his princesses. Then he made the worst mistake of his life — he asked them to drive to the ski lodge high in the mountains to visit him.
From the witness of another car travelling behind them and his youngest daughter’s incoherent muttering, a disjointed account of that fateful day laid bare.
The reason of his existence, his family, piled into a car and took turns to drive. His youngest daughter was at the wheel when something green flew into the window. A frog. The car swerved. Crashed.
By the time rescue came, his wife and eldest daughter were pronounced dead. His youngest daughter might as well be dead too. She could not recover from the guilt of being the sole survivor.
Now, he could only pray to the steady banging of his daughter’s head against the wall, like a monk to the steady beat of the wooden fish.