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If Love Were a Fairytale (Revised)
The bright world, purple and red and green, circled around like a whirlwind as they twirled, hand in hand. Her pale blue skin stood in soft contrast with the colorful world around them. He deftly pulled her back up and she spun away from him until she was as far away as their extended arms would allow. She looked into his eyes, the same shade of blue as hers and just as happy. He was taller than she, so when she spun back in to him it felt natural. Around them the world sang, and the trees as green as the brightest of emeralds, swayed in natural musical rhythm with them. She released his hand and grabbed one of the long red vines that hung almost to the ground from the trees. Her confident gaze never left his as she pushed off and floated temptingly around him, still grasping his hand softly.
They were the first that morning, but, as the sun rose, more began to arrive. Dozens of couples danced around them in the radiant forest. All of them had the same beautiful, smooth, blue skin and tall, slender bodies. Each had the same fragile noses and large curious eyes. Most noticeably, however, was the brilliant bright blue diamond that each of them had subtly embedded into their forehead. Occasionally, as they danced, it would catch the sunlight, sending brilliant beams of blue every which way.
They did this all day- whirling and swirling to the pulse of the world- never growing tired or disinterested. He lightly grabbed her waist and spun her around. The world blurred into a collage of green and blue and red. She trusted him, and he never dropped her.
Then it was over. The sun sank and with a regretful sigh he spun her one last time and suddenly they were again arm’s length from each other. The side of her mouth raised into a coy half smile and a mischievous gleam came into her eyes. The sun was quickly waning, and the groups were beginning to head north as they always did. She took a step forward in the direction of the others and then looked back. He had not moved. Confusion. She ran back and grabbed his hand, tugging at it gently, but he still did not budge. She did not understand, and neither did he. Uncertainly, she took another step away and then another, looking back to see if he would follow. He stood stubbornly still. Then, she realized he was not coming. Regret crossed her face, but she could not stay. With a casual turn of her shoulder she turned away from him as if she were going to walk away, but then- almost as an afterthought- she spun back around and bounded back to him, planting a lingering kiss on his cheek. She looked up into his quiet eyes for any trace of emotion suggesting that he may have changed his mind. Than she was gone: just like the others.
Just like every other day. He had experienced it 16 times now in his short life. 16 days in a row, they had appeared and danced and been happy, and then they had left. It never got any easier. Every time he felt his heart shatter; every time, he felt abandoned; every time he grew more accustomed to the bitter truth. He was alone. He did know why he couldn’t go with them; why he couldn’t leave the colorful wood which was all he had ever known. It just wasn’t the right time. But would it ever be the right time?
Even though the others left at night, the music never stopped and the colors were still as vibrant as ever. A huge stalk with a bright pale leaf hung over him, giving him some shelter during the night. Nearby, a large white mushroom would have worked just as well. A gentle wind rocked the flowered trees above him sending pure white flower petals down as he slept. A blue bird sat perched on a tree branch, singing softly, lest it wake the peacefully sleeping figure.
He awoke early the next morning of his 17th day. The entire ground was covered in a blanket of the white flower petals. He barely noticed them. He just stood quietly and faced north and wondered and imagined and hoped. He squinted his right eye as something began to irritate it slightly. He glanced over. The sun had begun to peep over the hills in the east, cascading the world in yellow and gold.
Her head appeared from behind a large turquoise colored leaf, where she hid from him. He glanced in her direction, and she ducked back behind the leaf shyly. When her head again appeared over the edge of the leaf, his arm was extended to her invitingly. She glanced at his hand doubtfully and then back up to his soft eyes. He was careful not to make any sudden movement. Slowly, softly, she began to creep out of hiding, keeping her gaze warily on him. His mouth twitched into a reassuring smile as she drew closer and extended her hand doubtfully toward his. Then they touched. With a start, she drew her hand away quickly as if she had been burned. He did not move away. Like an unmoving pillar he stood with his arm still outstretched invitingly. Cautiously, she again advanced and, this time, gingerly grasped his hand. He felt her body go tense, and he waited patiently for her to relax. And then they danced.
Twirling and jumping, they kicked up and trampled the white flower peddles, which were soon replaced as more floated gently from the branches above. Soon the clearing was again full of pairs dancing together. Lights flashed as light tried to make its way through the organized cacophony of dancing figures that lept and spun together happily. Their shadows contorted and shimmered behind them like the flame of a candle before it flickers out. It danced with them, imitating their every move. It should have been magical, but to him everything had lost its magical touch. He knew that, eventually, the sun would again set and they would leave him. She would leave him.
The day waned, and he began to feel genuinely hopeful. He danced with her as he had never danced with anyone before. Maybe this time he could travel away with them. Maybe she was the one. The light began to fade away and with a joyful smile, she grasped his hand and pulled him along with her as she ran, as full of energy and happiness as ever, north. He came with her for a time, wanting so badly to follow her, but as he neared the edge of the clearing his legs began to slow and his fingers began to untangle from hers. Than it was as it was before. A sorrowful look, a kiss on the cheek, and then she was gone.
When he awoke from his restless sleep, he was covered with red and yellow and golden leaves. He felt no obligation to drag himself up. Not today. He saw her through his canopy of leaves poking her head out. It was a different girl, as always, but he did not greet her this time as he did all of the other times before. He just hid and watched, afraid to again be hurt. She wandered around looking, though she did not know what she was looking for. Behind the trees and all of the bushes, she looked, tramping through the leaves, but she found nothing. Then she backed away. Her soft brown eyes darted around in confusion. The others were already dancing now, but she had no one to dance with. He would not come to her. Not again, just to just watch her leave like the others before. That third day went by so slowly. He watched as she wandered through waves of blue, still searching. Then the day was over, and she left.
He was curious, that is all, because when she walked away, he followed. He wanted so badly to know where it was that they went. It was not far away. In the middle of the forest a huge gnarled tree stood, the oldest in the forest. In its center a smooth blue diamond had been embedded into the tree. He watched in fascination as each figure made their way to the tree, placed their forehead with their own blue diamond against the diamond implanted into the tree. Then they were gone. He put his hand up and felt his own diamond that was there. One day, that will be me, he thought to himself. Then he headed home.
The following night began with a strange calm. It felt almost as if someone were holding their breath and any minute now that were going to violently let it all out. A drop of water landing on his nose was his first experience of rain. His large eyes gazed upward in wander as more drops descended from the heavens until it became a downpour. He rushed for cover and hid under the blue, leafy overhang of a plant. He shivered. The rain began to pour harder, and he decided that he did not much like this new thing. It was as if his feeling were spilling out around him in a miserable torrentulous down pour.
It was under the cover of darkness and rain that It came out. It was a like a shadow, merciless and quick and almost invisible. Still, he saw it. He saw everything that moves in his tiny clearing. It slithered through the underbrush and took refuge among its shadows. He watched as it snaked towards the jewel. As he stealthily followed the figure a twig snapped under his feet. The figure froze and glanced around, but he was already hidden safely behind a tree out of sight. It moved suspiciously forward again towards the diamond. He watched as It touched the diamond. Nothing happened. Than It pulled out a thin object and with a hiss began to pry at it.
Water from the pouring rain streamed into his eyes, but he understood instantly what was happening. The others would be stranded forever. But was that really so bad? He wondered. After all, that is what he wanted. He imagined dancing forever and never having to worry about being left at nightfall. He imagined twirling her as he always did, but holding her more tightly knowing that she would always be there.
But then he saw the joy in her face as she made her way towards freedom, and he knew he could not sentence her to a life in this small, wooded clearing forever. That was his burden to bear alone. With a great deal of effort he forced himself to pick up a heavy rock, and, with a yell, he sprang down at the figure. It froze, unsure exactly what was descending down upon It. It glared in frustration at him and hissed again. But it did not stay to fight. It swung Its fist mightily at the diamond one last time and the diamond exploded into a million tiny pieces.
He felt his body leave the ground and fly backwards through the air from the force of the explosion. Everything slowed as he took in the sights around him. Thin pieces of diamond seemed to float by him, and he no longer saw the world as it was. It was only a mixture of bright colors and spinning reflections. His pointed ears, that had at first screamed from abuse, had now receded to just a gentle throb. Everything was so peaceful. Then the world went black.
The rain had stopped when he awoke. It was barely before dawn. His peaceful glade was as it usually was. Pink flower petals fell from the trees and birds sang. He stood slowly, trying hard to remember something, but he could not.
She did not hide this time. She confidently stepped out of the trees and looked at him curiously. He was not sure what to do. She extended a hand to him and he extended his, taking hers. She spun in towards him wrapping herself in his arm. Then she spun back out grasping both of his hand. Two steps and she had ducked past him, and he had stepped past her, and they had effortlessly traded place. She allowed him to pick her up and to swing her before releasing her into the air. She landed gracefully on her feet.
It was the most wonderful thing he had ever experienced in his 19 days of existence. It was as if she and he were the same people, dancing about with energy and passion that was not matched. He lost all track of time as he danced with her so he was surprised when the sun began to sink. He stopped and his eyes darted around in desperation. He could not let her go. Then he remembered. Before he could react, she grabbed his hand and was joyfully pulled him towards the old tree. She stopped when she saw it. The diamond was gone. A group of blue figures had begun to gather around the tree where the diamond used to be, starring at it hopelessly.
She looked at his face questioningly, and he could not shake the aching feeling he had that he had failed her. It hurt him. It hurt him worse than abandonment ever had. He saw hopelessness in her eyes and felt as if his insides had been shattered alongside that diamond. He turned away from her gaze guiltily and lowered his head.
Then he knew what he had to do. He pushed his way to the front of the crowd and looked at them. Each one of them nodded at him as if they already knew what he intended. He clenched his teeth together and raised his hands to his forehead and felt the smooth blue diamond there. Then, very softly he removed it. It did not hurt like he thought it might. It just slid out and began to glow faintly. He cupped it in both hands and looked at it for a second. It represented his only way he would ever leave; the only way he would ever be normal. It represented life! He slid it into place anyway. The blue light expanded until it blinded everyone, and the earth, ever so slightly, rumbled. Then the light slowly receded back to its normal place. It was a perfect fit.
He watched only the first person grasp it and disappear before he turned away. He did not regret his decision, but that did not make it hurt any less. One by one, they all disappeared until she was the only one left. She gazed at him questioningly and he returned her gaze sadly. She stepped over towards him and extended her hand towards his forehead where the diamond used to be. She traced the small crevice with her fingers and then she touched her own. A look of wonder and sadness came across her face as she realized what this must mean. She glanced at the diamond and then back at him. She took a step towards the diamond, and then- almost as if it were an afterthought- she ran back to him and kissed him on the cheek. He smiled at her reassuringly and nodded towards the diamond.
She again stepped towards it. Her face filled with resolve. With a one smooth motion she put her hand to her forehead, grasped the diamond, and heaved it as far into the woods as she could. “No!” he yelled as his hands flew out to stop her. But the deed was already done. The diamond landed with a soft thump on the ground and bounced once before coming to rest far away from them. Its glow faded and flickered and died.
Love sacrifices. Love always protects. Love always trusts, always hopes. Love perseveres. It is patient and kind. Love never fails. With a confidence in her step, she walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head on his chest. “I. am… Luciana,” she said haltingly. It was the first words he had ever heard that were not his own.