YYC POP: Poetic Portraits of Poetry, a Sheri-D Wilson Laureate Project

The Princess of West Virginia

– Jeremy Robinson

Once upon a time, near the far corner of America, in a little kingdom of West Virginia, a place that is as quiet as it is anonymous, there lived a young Princess. Off a long stretch of highway which links the two cities, Charleston and Clarksburg, there is located the tiniest of towns named Parsons. This small community, full of salt of the Earth, good-natured folk, who mind their own business, as you mind yours would feel like a place out of time if you were to visit. Yet further down the road, into the long winding Appalachian mountains, past a blooming forest of pine trees, and untouched wilderness, where white-tailed deer could be seen roaming by a stream, there is even a smaller string of homes. Connected only by a narrow roadway where large trucks must swerve almost into a ditch in order for other vehicles to drive past safely, the land remains mostly untouched, preserving a way of life that feels quaint but far away from civilization. Yet it is even further down this path, past this little Hamlet of country life, up a slight, but treacherous hill, you will find a quiet unassuming house, and living inside is the quiet unassuming Princess of this story.

She was living there all alone since her mother passed away in 2015. A victim of circumstance, the Princess faced tragedy head on, experiencing the death of her father at a young age, and growing up with her mother, only to have her taken away as well. Yet the Princess persevered, trying to pick up the pieces and finding the strength to keep going. It couldn’t have been easy, to have her family stripped from her in such a harsh, and cold way, yet her outlook remained bright and loving. She never swayed away from optimism or hope, as her heart was too full of love to ever be diminished in such a way.

You could say that the Princess wasn’t fully alone however, for she did have relatives she could depend on once a week. Not having a car, she relied on a cousin to drive her into town to grab groceries, and other basic necessities. Living near a well with hard water, she had to depend on bottled water to drink. The Princess had to also be mindful to have enough supplies to last, during blizzards which made for treacherous road conditions and could postpone her grocery trip even more.

Alone in her house, she was independent, doing things for herself and learning as she went. She never complained, nor did her spirits ever drop. However her cousins, acting like evil step sisters would sometimes scold her with how she lived her life. They would make the Princess feel small, and worthless and sometimes making her feel alone and unloved. Through it all, she longed for an escape to find a life that is worth living, and whatever it took, wanted to find it on her own.

But the Princess’ spirit was never tarnished by this, and she found ways to remain fulfilled in her small kingdom. One of her great pleasures was viewing classic films, and television which kept her company on lonely nights. But these films became more for her, as they were something she could always rely on. In a period of great silence, or quiet when the darkness of her world felt like it could swallow her up, her salvation would come from these forgotten gems of a golden age that time had forgotten. Yet part of the Princess’ gift was to find a place for these things, and in a magical way, she could see merit in them, where others might look their noses down and dismiss them as old and worthless. But the Princess could not part with such things of beauty and art, and in a way they saved her, and she found meaning in them once again.

Pretty soon, the Princess decided to write down her thoughts about these films, and tell why they they meant so much to her. Out on the internet, she created a blog, and would discuss her thoughts about the things that she loved in such rich detail. It was a way of escape for her, but also a way she could express herself inside a palace where she thought no one would listen.

Finally one day, a boy found her blog, and he was amazed at how much it touched him and moved him. The boy came all the way from Calgary, Alberta, a city much further away than where the Princess was, yet he felt a kinship with what she wrote stronger than anyone he had ever known. He decided to reach out to the Princess, and tell her how much he enjoyed her writing, and how much it meant to him. Finally, the Princes found someone who she could talk to, and share things with, and soon the two of them corresponded every day. Pretty soon, the Princess told the boy about how she lived alone, and how she was being treated which concerned him very much. It became very clear that the friendship that the two of them shared blossomed into something more, much to their surprise, and they knew that they both wanted to be together. Yet West Virginia was such a far distance away, and was a place the boy never thought he would venture, yet the pull of true love was too strong to keep him away from her any longer

The day came, that the boy decided he would ride on a magical airplane, which would take him to the Princess post haste. Although the ride would be long and arduous with connecting flights to the mysterious Island of Denver Colorado, to the untamed wilderness of Chicago airport, nothing would stop him from reaching his destination.

After touching down in Clarksburg, the boy rented an enchanted rental car, and with the help of the mystical GPS found his way to the Princess’ tiny castle, and finally they were truly together.

After the boy’s visit, her promised to help her with whatever she needed, in order for her to start a new life that was full of opportunity and promises, and she no longer had to live alone ever again. There was something about the boy the Princess trusted, and for the first time in a long time, hope had entered her heart, and her mind was full of elation and excitement, she was going to live a life she had wanted.

The time soon came, they were going to be together again, and the Princess left her castle behind her, and got on a magical plane and came to see the boy in Calgary Alberta. She knew she was leaving her old life behind, but she kept one thing in her mind, and that was to be happy. Not many people are brave enough to follow their own happiness, but the Princess was one.

She met the boy who greeted her with flowers, and took her to a new palace where the two of them lived. The city of Calgary was strange and wondrous to her, a bustling metropolis full of new opportunity. It was here, she could make a new life and a new home, she was happy once again, and her old life faded into memory. Now all the Princess had to look forward to, was a future with possibilities.

The End

Jeremy Robinson

Jeremy Robinson, is an artist in Red Deer, having written for sketch comedy, as well as playwriting. He has lived in Calgary for almost two years now, and works at the Glenbow Museum as a Museum educator, as well as the children’s theatre company Stagecoach as a manager. 

Photo of Jeremy Robinson