Ingrid wanted to be a princess. It was the one dream of her childhood that she still carried as a young woman. Ingrid was an only child. She was bright, pampered and romantic.
Ingrid was enamored with Phil even before they met. Phil lived in the same building as Ingrid but three floors up. He was a junior attorney for the law firm of Jamieson, Faussett and Brown. He was suave, fashionable, and most importantly, his last name was Prince.
After six months of rigorous surveillance, something her best friend Mabel called ‘stalking’, Ingrid finally initiated contact with her prince. They met while picking up their mail in the lobby of their building. It just so happened that Ingrid spent the day having a makeover at the spa.
The meeting went flawlessly. First, he was enchanted by her intoxicating perfume. His eyes darted around the lobby. He was greeted by Ingrid’s immaculately manicured pink fingernails of her right hand. Phil looked up and gazed on a vision of loveliness. Ingrid replied with an airy twitter.
She’d hooked her prince.
Their first date, a tour of his kingdom, was seven days later. She needed all that time to get ready. For an entire week her apartment looked more like a fashion warehouse than a living space. Hair accessories and jewelry hung from lampshades. Cosmetics were strewn across every flat surface. Rejected outfits lay in piles all over the living room, dining room and kitchen.
“This doesn’t make you look desperate at all,” said Mabel, upon arrival for a wardrobe consult.
On the big day, Phil arrived at Ingrid’s apartment promptly at six. She greeted him, resplendent in her robin’s egg blue crinoline gown, satin elbow gloves and a hairband that resembled Cinderella’s tiara.
Phil was speechless. So was Ingrid. Standing before her was her prince, wearing khaki’s, a blue shirt and Blundstone boots. Undeterred, she took him by the arm as they went to his chariot in the parking garage. It turned out to be a ten year old Ford pickup truck.
“We’re taking this on a tour of your kingdom?” she asked.
“Yes, but I want it to be a surprise,” said Phil.
They engaged in small talk as Phil drove north out of town. Five miles later they turned off the highway and into a gate called ‘Safari Kingdom’.
“This is it,” said Phil.
“This is your kingdom?”
“It’s my mom and dad’s. I worked here in the summers. Are you alright?”
“Yeah, yeah. It’s just not what I expected,” said Ingrid. Her voice rose two octaves.
“I kind of suspected,” said Phil. He paused. “I have one more small surprise.”
Ingrid held her breath.
“We’re not eating alone. It’s kinda sorta a double date.”
Along with the sound of gravel bouncing off the wheel wells, Ingrid heard her dreams of this night shattering.
“With who,” she said softly.
“I wanted this to be special, so I arranged a dinner with two of my favorite people ever. Well, they’re not exactly people,” said Phil.
They pulled up to a large enclosure. Ingrid looked out and saw two tall blonds approach. Her eyes grew wide.
“Giraffes,” she whispered. “They’re so tall.”
“Aren’t they amazing? Their names are Jacob and Rachel.”
Phil reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of green pellets. One of the giraffes brought it’s head low and curled it’s tongue around Phil’s hand. Then it swung it’s head to Ingrid.
“It’s looking at me,” said Ingrid.
It wrapped it’s tongue around Ingrid’s chin. It’s fine sandpaper texture slowly scrubbed her face, making Ingrid squeal. Globs of drool dripped from her cheek and onto her gown.
Phil watched as Ingrid stormed away. “Where are you going?” he asked.
“I’m going to find my Duke.”