But when they had eaten their fill,
they turned on me. Their eyes grew cold
as they shoved me into the blue flames.
My cries became tinder.
My body melted into night.
— from “Gingerbread House”
When home is not a comfort, words not what they seem, and hands clap more than just themselves, we hide. We create worlds. We read fairy tales and fantasies and stories that take us out of our space, out of our heads, and into new places with people who care – or at least are of our own creation. We become Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, the Frog Prince. We tell ourselves that our gingerbread house will stand, and that whatever we cook, and whoever we bring inside will love us, and not simply throw us into the flames. But it’s just a fantasy. It’s just words and stories and pictures. And when we once again open our eyes, we are left waiting for the curses to end.
Catherine Garbinsky’s Even Curses End reminds us that we might become Snow White, but that damn witch has that damn apple, and we open our mouths and take a bite. We do this because we can close our eyes. We do this because we trust too easily. But curses can end. There is a way out of the forest. There is a way to not hide among the trees. A way to say no. A way to take the power back. A way to not be eaten by those you bring into your space – or who bring themselves into yours. Because, you can conquer anything.
Before, when curses were curses, and there was no route through which to escape, we felt doomed. But now we have words, and words are power. We have confidence. We have support. We can love ourselves. We can find our way out of the forest. We can push the apple from the witch’s hand. And no one else can cut out your heart, because it’s been done, and you took it back. It’s never an easy road, but fairy tale covers can close, apples don’t have to be poisonous, and Even Curses End.