When I was seven years old, I moved into this old Victorian mansion with my mother. Here it was, all trimming and white paint and yellow-stained cracked walls, all for our taking.

The first night we moved in, we slept on the cold hardwood floor of the living room. My mother and me, wrapped up in wool blankets, shivering in cold delight.

Here was our castle, our mansion on the hill. Out of suburbia enough to enjoy the view, close enough to the city to keep up with the working world.



My mother was an archeologist and spent much of her time doing fieldwork. She would travel and I depended upon faith alone to bring her home. She would sometimes take weekend trips, sometimes take years.

I spent much of the time in the castle, locked away in my tower, the prisoner of nannies and grandparents who would move in and take over like the place was theirs until my mother came home to rescue me.

Always late arrivals, sometimes ten minutes, sometimes months, but she would always get there, all hugs and kisses and presents from far away.

Always the same line: "This is why I was gone for so long, honey," and then an open palm stretched out with trinkets of Peru or China or Egypt.

I would gobble them up and lock them away and look at them, secretly at night. Stare at them and run my fingers over them again and again until my bones got tired and my eyes got blurry. These pieces are how I remember my mother, all small bits that make up one big treasure chest.

And then in a week, maybe a month, she would be gone again, traveling, off to some far away place that I could barely find on a map, let alone imagine what it was like to be there.

I would wave at her, face smashed up to the window, until I couldn't see her anymore and then she would be gone, and I would once again be captured still in the castle.




It was no surprise for my mother to come home one day and find me leaning out the third story window with Elliott crouching in the bushes below me, shouting, "Rapunzel, Rapunzel!"

She knew this was our castle, she knew I was being held hostage. And so she got Elliott the ladder and said, "Climb up there and get her you silly boy, stop waiting under the window."

And so this is how it happened, how Elliott saved me from my captors; how Elliott becomes my knight in shining armor.

So that every time my mother went away, there was Elliott, all short blond hair with a cowlick and little boy muscles. Two years older than me and man did it show when he finally realized how cool girls were.




Years later, and here I am, thirteen years old, the child with her nose pressed up against the window waving goodbye. But this time not to my mother, this time to Elliott.

And Elliott, with his face pressed up against the back glass of a station wagon, all smiles but tears and palms up on the window, shouts "I love you."

And me, all faith aside, knowing that I have to see this boy again, saying, "I will move to Seattle and see you again someday."





And that is how it happened, how I escaped the castle.

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