Posted on: January 21, 2014
A boy of 12, Edward and his mother prepared to leave Uncle Isaak's dinner party when Edward ran upstairs to give Min a kiss. Min, a girl of 3, was Uncle Isaak's goddaughter, who abruptly entered Edward's life only 4 months prior, after her parents were deemed unfit to care for her. The boy entered Min's nursery to find her bed empty; he was confused.
"Eddie", Min's delicate voice came from the closet. The closet door was ajar, and Edward approached slowly. Opening the door, he saw Min lying on the floor with her blanket and stuffed animals.
"What are you doing in here?" Edward asked.
"It's safe here," Min replied.
Edward knelt down to kiss her forehead, and she took hold of his hand. "Don't go!" she begged. Edward laid down in the closet beside her as she snuggled into him.
"What are you afraid of?"
Edward's mother entered the nursery. "Edward?"
Before Edward could respond, Min covered his mouth: "Shhhh..."
The closet door opened. "Time to go, my love," said Edward's mother. She lifted Min into her arms and carried her to bed.
He was her protector, and this memory often replayed in his mind during moments of insecurity. Min was 18, and beautiful. She had just been accepted into Juliard's Dance Division, and would now be close enough to Edward that he could stop making up excuses to come back home to Millburn every weekend. He'd been living in Manhattan for 3 years, and just purchased a beautiful 4-bedroom condo for the bargain price of $12 million. There was no reason why such a good-looking bachelor needed so much space. Everything he did was for Min.
Min was petite with dark features and full of life, in contrast to Edward's broad frame, red hair, and reserved demeanor. She devoted her life to ballet and becoming the woman she believed Edward would want her to be, leaving little room for a social life. The one time she invited Edward to a party her freshman year of high school, he told her his presence would be inappropriate. After that, she never partied and rarely hung out with friends.
Min loved Edward, and never bothered with boys from school. She possessed a physical confidence unlike most girls her age, but Edward was self-loathing and had developed somewhat of a dependency on porn and prostitution. He was a loyal client to an exclusive escort service in the city, although he had been in unpaid relationships before. The escort service proved to be significantly less complicated, and the women never expected Edward to introduce them to his family. He never wanted Min to think there was any woman he would put before her.
After moving to New York, Min would go to Edward's condo most nights, usually sleeping over. She would often crawl into his bed in the middle of the night, resulting in him moving to the sofa in the living room. For years he'd fantasized about Min being old enough to take out on a proper date; fantasized about being able to provide for her and own a big enough home for them to have children, and for her to have her own dance studio like the one she had at Uncle Isaak's house.
It was on the sofa, late at night, with Min in the other room, he convinced himself he could never touch her, and that he was a pedophile for having been in love with a girl since she was a toddler. Even though now she was old enough, now that she was so close, the fantasy world in which he’d once felt so safe was becoming real, and he didn't know how to exist in it.
As Edward became more detached over the next several months, and his birthday was approaching, Min decided to surprise him at his home with a gift. She called his mobile, but as had become the norm, he didn't answer. She let herself into the condo with the spare key he kept in the stairwell, walking to the dining room table to set down his present. She saw movement in her peripheral, and turned to see a naked woman standing in the doorway of the kitchen; the woman was petite with dark features, though Min was too consumed by her own humiliation to notice.
"I'm… I'm so sorry," Min said as she grabbed the card from the gift bag, leaving the present on the table as she made her escape.
Edward was mortified upon discovering Min had been in the apartment, but couldn't bring himself to chase after her and look her in the eyes. He wasn't one for crying, but as he opened the gift bag she'd left behind, a sharp pain pierced his heart that made him wince; the gift was a Knight carved from wood.
Edward called Min every day for weeks, and even sent her her favorite flowers. Making his way to her apartment late at night, Edward had gone from being hesitant and fearful to becoming the determined and tenacious man he knew Min would want him to be, but she was traumatized by the incident involving the naked woman; her virginity had become shameful to her, and her lively spirit faded into bitterness. She never answered his phone calls for fear he would patronize her innocence, and the vulnerability she had always wanted to feel in front of Edward had now become a weapon against her; she could hardly stand to be within her own skin.
As Edward made his way to her apartment, Min was running a bath, taking the pink roses he’d sent her and picking the petals out, letting them fall into the tub. Immersing herself under the water, it was in the tub, late at night, with Edward ringing the buzzer downstairs, that Min would convince herself Edward could never love her because she was a child, and that the life she had envisioned with her Knight would never be anything more than a fairytale.
Written by: Rebecca Lee
Photograph by: Whitney Ott
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
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