Fantasies

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The canopy of golden and auburn leaves frame the entrance of my secret place, a few feet tall, about a foot wide, and just big enough for a young child to crawl through. Though most people just see the small sticks leaning against the base of the elm tree, I saw the fairies who resided there, washing their hands in the little pink shells I had collected from the beach, and sleeping in the miniature cots I had crafted from pines, found scattered on the forest floor. The rocks surrounding these little houses were to keep out the scary things in life: the dark and all of its creatures, and just to be safe, I put another circle of little grey rocks around where I sat. No one could find me here. I was safe in my overgrown abode.
It was a warm day in October, yet the air in my house was not as comforting. My father, as tall as a building in my six-year-old eyes, had yet again forgotten the difference between sitting at our worn wooden kitchen table, and sitting at the dark stained wood found at the tables in the court room. I became the prosecution, he the lawyer, and our trial began. Contrasting the background of the warm red and yellow kitchen and the inviting smell of banana bread in the oven, the scene at the forefront of the room was not so composed. I was sitting at the table sobbing, salty tears cascading from my eyelids like water over the rim of a glass filled too full. I couldn’t tell you what he was yelling at me for, probably not making my bed or something of the like, yet he was relentless against my pitiful attempts at comebacks. I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take my father yelling at me as if I was being convicted of a first degree murder. Not once more. All of the sudden, I skidded the wooden chair away from the table, nocking its pink floral cushion to the matching carpeted floor, and bolted. Through the porch door, through the break in the black fence and off into the woods, my little legs carried me, my unruly blonde hair flying out behind me. I knew the paths of the woods like they were rooms in our house, so my parents just let me go.
Into the fortress I ran, escaped, leaving the clean-cut grass of our back yard behind me. The giants with their stiff brown legs, wrinkled with age, waved with their slender arms. They had changed outfits today, for before they were wearing an assortment of reds and yellows, but now they were sporting brown flaky shirts. As I walked on the path they parted for me, and threw flowers and cheered an airy cheer that sounded like tissue paper being pushed into a gift bag. I thanked everyone with a cordial hand, and walked forward in my own imaginary parade. Everyone was cheering for me; no one was making me cry. The squirrels scurried past me with their white tails flipped in the air, preparing everything for my visit. The Breeze escorted me to my small chamber, the one with the door just wide enough for a small child.
In I stepped, brushing the curtain of dead branches away with the back of my hand to expose the fairy houses. I looked at their simplicity and wondered why life couldn’t be like that for everyone. Why couldn’t we have couches made of moss? Why couldn’t we have cracks in our walls to look up to the warm sun, or to the speckled night sky? The openness of these little shacks represented a perfectness which I longed for, so here I toiled my day away. Little windows could be crafted from placing twigs around the natural cracks in the bark-made walls, and brown curtains made of carefully torn leaves would complement the white birch wall paper nicely. One hundred pines were placed onto the flat grey rocks to make a carpet. Not the groups of pines of course, individual ones counted and placed carefully. If a tree branch was hollowed out, and grass was budding, the little buds could be put into the branch with a bit of sap from the nearby maple tree to make a flower vase. The sunlight showed on my back as I worked, turning it a faint pink, just like the bellies of the birds that sat chirping on branches above me. The fairies would be happy when they came back at night, they would not yell at me.
Finally, Breeze came back to remind me to go home before it got dark, thrusting a cold pocket of air over me like a blanket over a tattered chair. I put down my tools, and stepped out of my little circle of grey rocks. The giants, now covered in a shroud of darkness mourning the end of the day gave a whispering goodbye. I promised I would be back tomorrow so that they didn’t start crying. I padded along the green carpet which I had entered on hours ago, wishing I was just entering my fantasy land. But I had to leave so the delicate fairies, with their opaque pink wings and needle-like legs, could enjoy their re-done abode. The giants and squirrels had to rest, and so did I, because every princess needs their beauty sleep.
I walked into my warm house, dragging my feet behind me as if the squirrels had tied boulders to them so I wouldn’t leave. My dad picked me up just before I hit the ground in a wave of fatigue. I could feel that we were going up the stairs, the lull of the up and down rhythm forcing me closer and closer towards my dreams. I cracked one eye open to see the familiar yellow sponge painted walls of my room, and white Land’s End comforter pulled back over my footboard. My dad carefully placed me on my bed, and under the cool covers I slid. My dad ran his fingers over my cheeks, brushing the frazzled hair away so he could lean down to my ear and say, “I love you.” It sounded like a secret, and you’re not supposed to ever share a secret, so I said “I love you too,” quiet enough so the giants couldn’t hear. I heard the light switch click down, and let my eyes close with the fading lights. Tomorrow would be another day, another adventure in my fantasy world, and I wouldn’t want to miss a thing.





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