It is with much sorrow that I take pen in hand, for the time has come that I must bid you farewell. Yet there shines one small ray of gladness that I can now say goodbye and no longer need your protection.
Lo, these many years we have been together I shall not soon forget. You have been a good companion and true, ever ready to defend me from the dangers of the world. A mere damsel such as I received a genteel upbringing, not one to make me strong and brave, like you.
For all these long years you have been my protector, nay, my guardian angel. In my travels through the years of my life, you watched over me with the eyes of an eagle. At the barest hint of adversity, you stepped in. You put yourself between me and the world and took all the blows for me. Nothing could penetrate your shining armor. No one could get past you to reach me. And I do thank you for it.
However, I have of late made acquaintance with some fine ladies and some noble squires who tell me the most wonderful tales of damsels like myself who traverse this world alone, in need of no one to protect them. They fight their own battles. They journey wherever they like, unafraid, because they know they can take care of themselves. And they tell me that it is in me to be the same.
My beloved champion, I must confess that for all these years you have journeyed with me to make my path safe, I did fear. But not for you. I feared selfishly for my own well-being if you should one day meet with disaster. With mine own eyes I have seen you do battle with more brigands and highwaymen than I could count and emerge not only victorious, but stronger than ever. Yet what should I have done had you been killed? There would have been no one to defend me.
Please do not feel sorrow or regret now that I say goodbye. I crave to see, to touch, to feel all the world with my own senses. Though you have done a splendid job of protecting me, I cannot know, as my new friends point out, what the world is really like when you do everything for me. The rose gardens you planted on my behalf bloomed prodigiously and were beautiful beyond words, but you never let me walk among them for fear of my being pricked by a thorn.
I hope you understand that I am not sending you away because I dislike you or because you failed at your tasks. Nay, sir, you excelled. I never knew pain or strife. You took all my blows for me. You had all the adventures. You did all the living. And I – I sat on a shelf like a precious crystal vase, dreading to move lest I fall off and shatter irreparably.
Well, dear knight, I am no longer afraid. I am going out on my own to seek my fortune. Thank you ever so much for those faithful years of devotion, but I shall no longer require your services.
Godspeed, my dear.
Your humble servant,
Damsel no longer in distress
First published in Oct. 1988, BBW Magazine.