The Fairy and the Goblin

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful fairy who lived in the my garden under the bottle brush. She was ten inches tall with the most magnificent glittering, transparent wings that sprouted from her shoulders and touched the ground. Her hair was like spun gold that fell down her back in beautiful curls. Her name was Dahlia.
She was no ordinary fairy, though. She was the only daughter of the Fairy King and Queen, and therefore was a princess who would one day be a queen. With this role came great powers of flight, healing and the ability to grant wishes. There was only one catch. These powers could not be used for self-satisfaction as it was her duty to deny her self of any indulgences, for the fairies were to be the most selfless of all creatures.
Dahlia was always a dutiful fairy who submissively abided by the laws of the fairy kind while longing to fall in love. She was to be betrothed, but she could not bring herself to love Lord Alexander, her future king, though her mother and father adored him. The king and queen were quite proud of their daughter and what she had bloomed to be. They never dreamed that this would one day change…..Nevertheless, one day it did. She met Spike.
Spike was the insurgent youngest son of the family of blue goblins who lived in the dirt under my house. He had recently been banished to live in the drainpipe on the corner of the house, near the Fairies’ lair because he refused to succumb to the awful ways of the goblins.
For most of his child hood, Spike had secretly watched the fairies, in particular, Dahlia, observing the beautiful way in which she fluttered about, carrying out her fairy duties. He’d fallen in love with Dahlia, and wished with all his heart that he could somehow become a fairy like her so that she could get to know him and fall in love with him.
Spike sat on the edge of a drain one day, with his chin resting on his knees and his face in his hands. He sighed (a little too) loudly. “Oh, to be a fairy.” He whispered to himself. “So you could love me, Dahlia. I would shed this ugly goblin skin and leave my awful heritage behind, forever.” A single tear dripped down his cheek and fell on to a clover below.
Dahlia heard him as she was fluttering past the drainpipe. She perched beside him, on the edge of the drain and put her hand on his shoulder. “There, there, poor creature,” she whispered, softly. Her voice was angelic, like the sweetest music ever heard, “You must not cry.”
Spike looked up and thought he was dreaming. Here he was sobbing his heart out and this beautiful creature who he had admired all his life from afar was sitting beside him, comforting him. He pinched himself, dreading to find out that this could be a dream. “Yes, I am real,” Dahlia said. ”I want to help you. Give me your hand.”
Cautiously, Spike held out his hand and she took it. She closed her eyes and concentrated. “You will no longer be a goblin!” she chanted. Slowly the goblin was transforming. Secretly, Dahlia blessed Spike with two abilities of his own. The ability to see into the hearts of other creatures and the ability to let others see what he could see.
She opened her eyes to view her work. Spike had became the most handsome fairy that Dahlia could create, also with sparking wings and golden hair. He was paler than most fairies because of the drastic change of skin colour. This was beyond Dahlia’s abilities. “From this moment forward, you will be a fairy and leave this horrible place to live among us in the garden.”
Spike followed Dahlia back to her home and over the next few days she began to teach him the ways and beliefs of the fairy kind and introduced him to the other fairies as a prince from a neighbouring garden. They all grew to like Spike and he was very surprised at how quickly he fit in.
Dahlia was impressed by his progress and found herself falling for him against her wishes. He was forbidden to her because of her un-happy intent to marry. She refused to touch Spike as she could see what he saw. She saw herself through the eyes of a creature who was in love.
When Dahlia introduced Spike to her future husband, Lord Alexander was the first to take a disliking to him, for he saw in Spike everything he was not. Lord Alexander was a fairy with a goblin’s spirit, cold-hearted, dark and gloomy with a short temper and evil intentions. He had won over the fairy king and queen and fooled them into believing he was the right suitor for their daughter, while planning to take over their kingdom. When Spike shook Lord Alexander’s hand, he was the first to see him for what he was, an evil spirit, who did not deserve Dahlia’s hand in marriage.
Lord Alexander watched Spike and waited until that night when he was alone. “Spike, Spike, Spike,” the words dripped off his tongue, like poison. “You are hiding something from me, are you not?”
Spike was startled. “What do you mean?” he asked, confused and worried. Lord Alexander pointed to Spike’s heart. He was propelled backwards with the force of Lord Alexander’s abilities.
“You have feelings for my bride-to-be, hence you wish to take over the thrown?” Lord Alexander continued. “Don’t try to deny it. I can see it in the way you look at her.”
Spike struggle to stand up. He then tried to speak but Lord Alexander cut him off. “Don’t try to explain it. I’m not here to listen.”
“Then why are you here?” Spike finally could speak. There was fear in his voice.
Lord Alexander saw the fear in Spike’s eyes and was quite pleased with himself. “I want you to stay away from her,” he said with a threatening tone in his voice, “ Or else! Dahlia and this Kingdom are MINE!” Without giving Spike a chance to say anything more, he turned and disappeared into the darkness.
Spike shivered in his bed all night with fear. He could not sleep at all. Very tired and frustrated he rose from his bed and found a feathered quill and paper. He began to write a letter explaining that although he loved her and would always be grateful for all she had done for him, he could no longer stay in her kingdom for reasons he would not explain.
Spike flew into the window of her lair to deliver the letter. He left it on the end of her bed and quietly left, but Dahlia could feel a presence in her room and instantly woke. She opened her eyes to see Spike flying back out her window and jumped out of bed and ran to the window, calling him. “Spike, Spike! Come back!” Spike heard her and though it pained him, he did not turn around.
Dahlia then saw the letter on the end of her bed. Tears filled her eyes as she began to read it. Then without a second thought she flew out the window and into the night to find him. She didn’t have to look far, as she knew where she would find him. She was right. There he was sitting on the edge of that same drain, almost exactly how she first found him with his chin resting on his knees and his head in his hands, sobbing violently.
She sat beside him and touched his shoulder. All of a sudden she could see all of it, his love for her, the confrontation with Lord Alexander and her husband-to-be’s true colours. “Is Lord Alexander the reason you wanted to leave?” Dahlia asked through her own sobs.
“Yes,” said Spike.
“I’m not going to let you,” she continued. “I love you too much to let you disappear from my life.”
“You really do?” Spike couldn’t believe his ears. Could this be a dream, he thought. “What about Lord Alexander? Dahlia took his hand into hers and kissed it, softly.
“I never wanted him. I wanted you, but I was trapped in this marriage agreement with Lord Alexander. When I touched you I saw him for what he really is through you, and I am determined not to marry him.”
Spike looked at Dahlia in surprised amazement as she continued, “Yes, I gave you abilities, two very important gifts. I gave you the ability to see into the hearts of others and also the ability to allow others to see what you see. Right now I saw Lord Alexander for what he really is and you don’t want to know my thoughts of him, and I saw me, the way you do.”
There was an uncomfortable silence which followed Dahlia’s little speech. She looked at the cluster of clover below and studied their unusual but beautiful shape. A strand of hair fell from behind her ear, covering her face and blocking it from Spikes view. He reached out and tucked it back behind her ear and then stoked her cheek. She looked at him. “I love you,” Spike wanted to say. He didn’t have to say the words for Dahlia already knew. She could feel it in his heart. She closed her eyes as he leaned over to kiss her.
It was then, that she knew what she must do. She jumped up dragging Spike off his perch and levitated in the air, her wings flapping and sparkling under the moonlight. “Come on!” she cried. “We must go to my mother and father and show them what you know.” They flew off back to the king and queen’s lair.
Back at the lair, Dahlia proceeded to tell the king and queen about what she had found out about Lord Alexander and they took Spike’s hand and were shocked to see for themselves, the danger that they would all be in if they allowed this marriage to go ahead. They also saw Spike for what he used to be and questioned it. Spike, in his heart assured them that he meant no harm. They then saw their daughter as Spike saw her.
Finally the king spoke. “I should punish you, Dahlia, for you disobeyed the law of this kingdom and us, and allowed a goblin into our home,” Dahlia tried to speak, but her father silenced her. “However, I can see that Spike appears to have one of the truest hearts, one worthy of my daughter’s love. Hence I forbid you to marry Lord Alexander and marry this fine young prince, instead.” Dahlia happily threw her arms around her father, while her mother wiped away a tear of pride.
“Welcome to our kingdom and our family,” the queen said.
Lord Alexander was immediately summonsed, turned into a goblin and then banished to live with the rest of the goblins under my house. Spike and Dahlia were married the next morning. She looked beautiful, with her flowing veil and a tiara of clover in her hair. There had never been a happier pair of fairies in all the land then the future fairy king and queen.
THE END

The Troubled Fairy Child

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Crimes

I watched the clock tick on the white wall behind him while he studied his notes, shaking his balding head. There was a mixture of amusement and disbelief in his amber eyes, the first emotion, I knew he was struggling to suppress. Mr Tomlinson rested his clean shaved chin on a bony arm, propped up on the plastic arm of his swivel chair, not disguising his concern.
He had dealt with so many students in this manner, many of which on a daily basis, but I, the neatly dressed student with the thick framed glasses and long blond plait down the middle of her back, was not one amongst the array of ‘types’ that sat opposite him, scruffy in their uniform and scowling as they waited for their punishment to be handed down.
“This is not the sort of behaviour I would’ve expected from you, Jasmine.”
His voice was soft spoken and he even sounded so sympathetic when he spoke that my gut sank even lower with guilt than what it already had been.
I knew what he meant. For so long I had been the good student – straight A’s, impeccable attendance and behaviour records and was the student most likely to be elected School captain in my senior year.
“How are things at home?”
“Fine.”
We both knew they really weren’t, but I was in no mood to talk about it. No amount of talking would under the damage I’d done and bring my sister back – nothing would. She was gone.
“Jasmine, you cannot go on with this behaviour. Stealing clocks? Bells? Traffic cones? Defacing school property? It’s not you. What could you possibly gain from that?”
I shrugged. I even stifled a giggle, recollecting the thrill I somehow found in committing these ‘crimes’ that had finally caught up with me. It was short lived as the principal continued his speech and I wondered if this was how he spoke to all the students who sat before him, summoned, as I had been to be reprimanded.
We both knew it wasn’t my usual behaviour, but I couldn’t begin to express how much I wanted to forget what had happened, even if it meant forgetting who I was.
I could feel the emotion swirling around the pit of my stomach, threatening to surface in a flood of sobs and tears, but I sat there, staring into my hands, hoping the principal would not see through my blank, cold face into the sadness I was squashing down.
“I can see you don’t want to talk about… things, so I will not push you, however I am concerned about your behaviour and the damage it is doing to your standing in this school. I am also concerned about the example you are setting to other students, who are looking to you for leadership. What does this say to them?”
I shrugged again wishing Mr Tomlinson would just hand down a ‘sentence’ and let me go so I could get out of there.
“I would expel most students for this sort of behaviour, but I don’t think that’s the answer here. Neither is suspension.”
I sighed, half relieved, but somehow cheated when he finally said, “Because of your outstanding records I am simply going to recommend you see our guidance officer and you will have a week of detention.”
“Yes Sir.”

The Flightless Fairy

Deep in the forest there was a beautiful flowing stream, where the birds visited to play and to drink, where frogs floated on lily pads on the surface of the water, croaking with joy as they rode downstream, and where fish of many colours and sizes ducked and weaved through the water, surfacing only to catch the sun that would treacle down through the trees.
There, some fairies were enjoying the sun’s rays and they fluttered about, and their beautiful sheer wings glimmered in the light, all that is, accept just one, who sat quietly on the rock, watching the others fly about in their beautiful dance.
She had told herself long ago, that it did not matter that she could not fly. The ground was all she needed and that she was happy enough there.
“Come on!” all the other fairies chimed at once, one day and even tried to take her hand and help her, but like always she pulled away.
“Please leave me be,” she said. “I am hppy here, watching.”
They tried many times but like always, she would not give in. She just kept insisting on staying put, on the rocks. Soon, like always, they gave up and continued their merry dance with out her.
A small bird saw their fruitless attempts and on this day, landed beside her.
“You have such pretty wings, but you never use them. Why is that?” the bird asked.
“I like it here on the rocks,” she answered.
“But don’t you ever just want to see how they work?” the bird asked.
“They work just fine,” the fairy said, annoyed at this persistent creature, “but I don’t want to go up there.” She pointed to the air above her where the other fairies danced.
“They want you to join them,” the bird insisted. “I am sure you would be so much happier, dancing up there with them.”
The fairy shook her head. “No. Please leave me be.”
The bird reluctantly flew away and the fairy continued to sit and watch the scene in front of her.
Her wings sat limp down her back and they did not flinch, nor did they shimmer, like the rest.
She straightened her flower petal skirt over her knees as she hugged them to her, resting her head down.
A curious frog saw her and he leapt off his lily pad into the water and began to swim towards the rocks where she sat.
“What is the matter, pretty one?” he asked. “Why are you not fluttering about with your friends? Are your wings broken?”
“My wings are fine,” the fairy answered, and so am I. I just want to stay here on my rock and sleep.”
The frog studied her poor limp wings. “They look fine,” he said, “and I bet they would shimmer beautifully, so why don’t you show me?”
The fairy shook her head. “No. Please leave me be.”
The frog hopped away and with a PLOP, returned to the water and found another lily pad to continue his game, joining the other frogs again.
The fairy closed her eyes and tried to will every creature around her to disappear, but it was no use.
A fish that had popped his head out of the water, saw the frog leave the fairy’s side and suddenly he charged across the current until he was close to the edge and the rocks where the fairy sat.
“Yoo-hoo! Hello there!” He called to the fairy who reluctantly looked to where the fish floated, with his head popped out of the water. “Are you okay?” he asked.
Of course I am okay.” The fairy answered. “ Why do you ask?”
“Well, you are sitting all alone while your friends are flying about,” the fish answered. “Why do you not join them?”
“I told the bird and the frog and I am telling you now, I am happy here on my rock,” the fairy said. She was annoyed now at the way all the creatures persisted with convincing her to fly.
“But would you not rather be in the air with everyone else?” the fish insited.
The fairy lifted her head off her knees for a moment and the fish though he had convinced her to try.
The fairy shook her head. “No. Please leave me be.”
The fish knew it was no use but as he swam away he saw the tear that slipped from the fairy’s eye as she rested her head again and thought of a plan.
As she watched him swim away, the fairy hoped her tears were un-noticed. She wished she could tell the creatures her secret, for she knew they were only trying to help.
The real reason she did not want to flutter about with the other fairies was something not even the other fairies knew. The truth was the fairy had never used her wings before and she had never left the ground in her life. The fairy was too afraid to fly.
But one creature knew when he swam away that the fairy was not happy like said she was and he was determined to change that, but he needed help from the other creatures.
He met the frog in the middle of the stream and the bird, perched in a tree not far away, joined them also.
“It is time we help that poor fairy learn to use her wings,” the fish said.
“I know how I can help!” the frog said.
“Me too,” said the bird.
They huddled for a very long time while the fairy sat, oblivious, crying on the rocks.
Soon all three creatures joined her again, before she had time to see them coming, nor dry her tears.
“Come,” said the bird. “Sit on my back and I will show you what it’s like to fly.”
“But, I am scared,” the fairy said.
“That is okay,” The bird said. “I will keep you safe and the frog and the fish are here to help you also.
“Okay I will try,” said the fairy. She stood, drying her eyes, and climbed onto the bird’s back, closed her eyes and clung tight to her neck, burying her head in the soft feathers.
The bird flapped her wings and lifted swiftly off the ground. The frightened fairy screamed with fright. Her tears flowed harder as the bird took to the sky.
“You are doing okay, little one,” the bird said, but the bird’s soothing voice did nothing to calm the fairy’s fears.
“Please put me down!” The fairy cried, but the bird did not listen. “Please put me down,” she said again. Again the bird did not listen. “Put me down, Now!” the fairy screamed. This time the bird knew the fairy was indeed not ready to fly. The bird swiftly swooped and was soon safely on the rocks again.
The fairy opened her eyes and let go of the bird’s neck. Once standing on the ground, she faced the bird and asked, “Why did you do that?”
The bird looked back at the fairy and answered. “Sometimes, you have to face your fear in order to let it go.”
“But I was not ready to fly yet,” the fairy said.
“That is true,” said the bird, “or is it?”
“What do you mean?” the fairy asked.
“No one made you climb on my back. You did that yourself,” the bird explained.
The fairy thought about what the bird said and nodded. “When we were in the air though, I was scared.”
“What were you afraid of?” the bird asked.
“I was afraid to fall,” the fairy said.
The bird nodded. She understood what the fairy said. “You have wings do you not?” The fairy nodded. “They work, do they not?” The fairy shook her head. “How do you know this, if you do not try to use them?”
“I do not know how,” the fairy said.
“How did the other fairies learn to fly?” the bird asked.
The fairy thought about it. “It just happened, naturally.”
The bird was silent. The frog however, hopped excitedly on his lily pad.
“I can help you,” he said. “Step onto my lily pad.”
“Okay,” the fairy said. She dried her eyes and stepped onto the lily pad.
“Now hold on,” the frog said and the fairy stood behind him and clung to his slippery neck.
At lightening speed the Frog pushed his lily pad away from the edge with his foot and they were soon riding the river’s current. “Do you not feel free?” the frog asked as they sped along.
The fairy thought about it and realised she was not scared at all. “I do,” she said, “very much.”
Suddenly the lily pad picked up speed and she squealed, but this time it was a squeal of delight. She looked over the frog’s shoulder and saw the shimmering body of the fish beneath the water, pulling the lily pad along. The frog croaked with joy.
The fairy was not so afraid of this as she was of the air and let go of the frog’s neck and spread her arms out wide.
She did not realise the wind had lifted her wings and they were flapping on their own. She did not realise that she was soon lifting way from the lily pad. She did not realise that it was not the frog or the fish pulling her along anymore. It was all her doing now.
It was only when she was high above the rocks and the water that she realised that she was in fact flying, on her own, with her beautiful wings, shimmering in the sunlight, brighter than ever.
Her heart skipped a beat and she thought for a moment she would crash, but when she looked beside her she saw the bird flying beside her, her wings outstretched and on her other side were her fairy friends, all flying beside her.
“You are doing great! The all shouted.
”Keep going,” the bird said.
She giggled and her heart swelled with so much happiness, more than she had ever known.
The fairy was no longer afraid. She was flying now and she was free.

Long Pause

This is a place of ambience, where the sounds blend together to build an orchestra of both nature and machine and then dissipate in the same instant. In the quiet moments leaves bustle as they travel on a gust of wind across a once green and luscious patch of grass that is now dry and twiggy. Somewhere a bird chirps and others chirp their equally happy response, and even further in the distance a duck quacks.
All of this however is drowned out by the roaring motors of the traffic – big land cruisers that look like they’d never seen bush, dwarfed by the truck passing it in opposite direction with a water tank in the trailer. It is only the sound that lingers when it disappears on its way to somewhere.
This place I sit in is a place where everyone is going somewhere, even when they are not moving they are on their way somewhere. It is but one stop on their journey.
As I sit, a spider crawls across the leg of my blue jeans and my first instinct is to brush it away. I act upon this but then for a moment I wonder where it came from and where it was going. Had I just stopped it on its journey? I might have changed its path but what then? Maybe like anything stopped on its journey and forced to change directions, it was for a reason and perhaps it is on a better path. Maybe the destination changes, what then?
I haven’t seen that spider since.
As I ponder my part in a spider’s journey, more people pass, all taking determined steps down the concrete path and through the automatic doors they disappear. I wonder what they think of when the walk that path. Do they see the trees as they sway in a soft wind or hear the birds chatter away? I wonder what it all sounds like in their heads. Is there the same chatter that I hear in mine? Do their dreams and memories play as vividly in their mind’s eye as mine do?
A magpie lands on a lamp post high above the traffic, squawks his greeting, but does not stay. I wonder if it was the view he was not impressed with. Perhaps the streetlamp was a place to momentarily rest his weary wings before taking flight again to resume his journey. Then a crow flies boldly between two buildings, shifting course only slightly to avoid collision.
I reflect on the people I’ve observed, walking into the building, the dwarf like girl with the body full of scars, who proudly wears clothing that does not hide these and the old man who strolls in, casually flicking away his burnt out cigarette before disappearing, like the girl, into the building.
A rattle is heard nearby, but only I am noticing and I shift my gaze to where the sound is coming from.
A plastic subway bag is all that remains of someone’s meal and is rolling in my direction before a gust of wind changes its course. Its new path ends with a concrete block, adjacent to the one I rest my back on. I stare at it half angry that someone has neglected to dispose of it and half wanting to disconnect from it.
Like the plastic bag, it feels like everything has stopped, but the traffic and the birds. The breeze blows on and the hot October sun continues to bore down on me and there’s no relief from that. Nature and construction meet but there is no acknowledgement. People that enter the building do not exchange more than a quick glance, a nod and maybe a smile. There is no kiss likely to occur, nor can I imagine this to be the place where one would occur. There may be kisses anticipated in a time and place far from here but the kiss I see is the one in a not so distant memory, playing out in my head like it was only moments ago. I don’t ponder this for too long. An animated conversation between birds catches my attention, bringing back to reality and my long pause before I too will eventually resume my journey.

The Mean Old Snowman

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There once was a snowman. His name was Bob and he was the meanest snowman that ever existed. He would drop his tree branch arm and wait for a child to feel sorry for him and put it back on. When they did he would yell, “BOO!” and the child would jump with such a fright and run away so fast he or she would trip over in the snow. Then he would laugh at them
One day he played this trick on an unsuspecting little girl, who was wandering home from school one afternoon. The little girl, Cora stopped to pick up the snowman’s arm. As she did she heard a loud “BOO!” Cora screamed loudly and dropped the arm back on the ground. Bob snorted with laughter at the child’s frightened face, which made Cora very angry.
“Stop laughing, at once!” the little girl demanded, standing with her hands on her hips, but the snowman couldn’t stop. It was too funny. “I said, stop laughing!” Cora repeated. Still, Bob kept laughing. Pointing her finger at the snowman, Cora said, “You’re a very mean snowman and you should be a shamed.” The snowman laughed harder. “You’ll be sorry when spring comes. You’ll start melting and soon there will be nothing left of you.”
The snow man stopped laughing and was suddenly frightened. “Ridiculous!” Bob said, trying to cover up his fear.
You’ll see,” Cora said and walked away. The snowman began to laugh again.
A week later it was beginning to warm up, as Spring was getting closer. Bob the snowman was beginning to feel a little funny, perhaps, lighter and definitely weaker. Maybe the little girl was right, he thought, I’m going to melt! When Cora passed him with some of her friends, she saw the snowman and pointed at him, and laughed. The other children laughed too.
Bob began to feel sad. “You were right!” He shouted to Cora. “I’m melting!” Cora stopped walking and looked at the snowman. She felt sad for the snowman. “I’m sorry I was mean,” the snowman said.
“That’s okay,” the little girl said. She smiled at Bob, waved and then was gone.
The next day Cora was on her way to school with her friends and stopped to say hello to Bob, but she could not see him. All that was left was a small mound of frost. Bob was gone. Cora looked at the mound and began to cry. “Goodbye Mr Snowman,” she said and continued off to school.

Beyond The Old Wooden Door

I stare sadly at the peeling paint. Once upon a time it might have been vibrant but there is no evidence of that, nor evidence of what colour it might have once been. This wooden door before me now screams neglect and I feel in that moment a sense that it was not the only thing abandoned along ago. I feel compelled to run my hands down the paling and as the peeling paint chips fall away, a greying aged naked wood reveals itself.

Suddenly I feel it move with ease and I feel that what lies beyond this old wooden door is beckoning me to step through. What mystery lies beyond this old wooden door? What would I see there? Would I like what I see? I push on the door and though I know I should enter, I feel resistance. What I see, when I open the door is both over and under-whelming. I immediately want to step back through the door, close it and forget all about the sight that beholds me but I feel a pull downwards. My bare feet are rooted In the earth and I am forced to remain here in this place I don’t want to be.

All around me are weeds. They stand tall and I can barely see over them, enough to see that this field is full of them. In the distance is an old wooden barn house and I think about exploring it to see what is in there. I decide not to, not just yet. I feel stuck in this one spot. I look down and see the green viny stems weaving themselves around my ankles, cutting into my skin. I reach down, my fingers intertwining with them for a mere second before I frantically yank them away and I break out of their stronghold, kicking them roughly away from me. I care not to be stuck there any longer.

I take hold of it in clumps and begin to pull it all out.

Rip. Rip. Rip.

Masses of green lay in piles around me. Mountains of viny, leafy stems lie lifeless as if in a grave-site. I feel like those weeds, displaced and dying inside…

I don’t realise in my tirade through it all that I have ripped out a path for myself through the weeds. I feel however that I am beginning to be okay with what I see around. The urge to rip into it slowly subsides. There is too much anyway to tackle. It can all stay here for now. I glance at the old barn house in the distance. It seems to have been better cared for, and welcoming, but I still have no desire to go near it. I don’t feel like I can wade through so much weed to get there.

In my contemplation I feel a sensation, like a tingling in the middle of my bare back and I realise this feeling is familiar, like something I have known before and I allow this sensation to take over. I glance over my shoulder back towards the old door, but it is obstructed, not by the weeds but a shimmering, almost transparent wing. I cannot see the detail only the shimmer as the sun hits them. I am unsure how but they are moving and I like the way this feels. Maybe I can lift, Maybe I could hover above this place. Maybe I can even glide over the sea of weeds towards the house, but despite the newfound sense of freedom I desire to do none of these things. It’s almost as if knowing I can is enough.

I study the foliage around me and realise what I thought were weeds, may just be something else, something more beautiful and as a breeze weaves its way through it carries a scent that lightly tickles my nose. I breathe it in and feel a wonderful calm. As I exhale I look up, realising how small I really am in my surroundings. The tops of the foliage are visible at eye level, as they reach to the sun. They dance in unison with the breeze. It’s then that I see the beautiful pastel purple at the tip and I realise that the scent is coming from this beautiful foliage with the stunning lavender flower. I scan the field taking it all in yet again. No longer do I see a field of weeds, I see a sea of purple as far as the eye can see. I now realise what mystery the old door had wanted to reveal.

Maybe it’s not the barn house I’m supposed to explore, but the vastness of the field that lies between it and me. Maybe it is about remembering who I am, about remembering how small I am and being okay with that. It’s not about going back or onward but just staying put and just being one with this place. Maybe it’s about feeling my own power grow from within, or about realising that it was always there, just waiting for me to acknowledge it. Maybe it’s about all of this and more. I look at the piles of dying stems with now lifeless purple flowers wilting in the sun’s heat. I brush a lone tear from my cheek, that I hadn’t realised had snuck out of my eye. My heart, broken and heavy and my stomach sick from guilt over my carelessness and destruction compel me to whisper an apology, though I know it is not enough.

I know it’s time to go as the door, which I can now see is a gate beckons me and the path towards it is now clear. My wings now rested at my back, still tingle as I follow the path I had created back to the gate. I step through it and I turn one more time to see this place I have found. I promise to return, to just be among the lavender I had once mistaken for weeds, to bath in their beauty and maybe, just maybe visit the old barn house.

I pull the gate shut behind me and step away from it, realising that it is one with the hedge that surrounds it, of vibrant purple flower. I take note of it all, hoping I will remember where to find the door one day soon.

Breaking News

While this story is linked to an event in History, the characters in the story bear no resemblance to figures linked to the event.

“I can’t wait to see you.” The circulation in Angelo’s hand had cut off more than a minute before, from resting the phone between the pillow and his ear. It tingled like a thousand tiny pins had repeatedly pierced his skin, as the feeling slowly returned. He winced as he sat up and, with his free hand, re-adjusted the pillows behind his back. He reached over to the drawer of his bedside table, opened it and plucked a small red box from it.
“Me too,” she whispered. Mary’s voice was sweet, but deep and a little husky, but he could hear the fatigue in her reply. Angelo knew it had been a long week for her. “Angelo, when I get back, we need to talk.”
Her ice blue eyes lingered on the gold wrist watch he had bought her for Christmas. They had been together four and a half months when he’s asked her to accompany him to his parent’s San Francisco home, where he had grown up, and had always made a point to return to each year for the holidays. She had enjoyed the time they had spent there together and his parents had warmed to her right away.
A quarter past seven.
As the second hand approached the 12, Mary fought hard against the tears she was sure would come if she lingered on the words she knew she needed to say – the words she knew would break his heart, especially since it was their anniversary. She was yet to find out what Angelo was planning for her return – probably some high priced restaurant, so predictable, she thought to herself. A week ago she might have still thought it was sweet, but that was before she had realized she couldn’t have both the job of her dreams – and him. She knew she had to give up one and when would she ever have got another opportunity like this one. She knew she would only be returning home to pack her things, finalise her life in L.A and fly back to Boston and her new life. She would always love him, but she knew he would never fit into her world. It had to be done.
She could just see herself losing her nerve, as she sank into his arm where she would cave and stay.
It just wasn’t an option.
Fresh out of College, at her age, newspaper reporter jobs did not normally fall out of the sky as easily as this one had. This job offer was the break of her career, the one she knew she would regret turning down.
Angelo didn’t hear the sadness in her voice as she spoke – nor could Mary see the dreamy smile on his face as he traced the lid of the tiny velvet box with his thumb. He flicked open the lid and the diamond cluster shimmered under the night light. He couldn’t wait for her to find it in a slice of her favourite black-forest cake, right under the cherry. He had been busy in the lead up to this day, booking the restaurant, arranging the flowers to arrive in time for dessert, picking up his suit from the dry cleaners. He had even laid out the dress she would wear, that he had caught her eyeing longingly in a shop window only a week ago. He glanced over to the easy chair in his bedroom, where it hung in the clear plastic dress bag on top of his suit and closed his eyes to picture her in it and how her auburn locks would cascade over her bare shoulders, just as she had done when she’d seen it. He hoped she would say yes.
“Are you still there?” Mary’s voice broke into his daydream.
“I’m still here,” He answered. His tired brown eyes snapped open and he found himself focusing on the clock on his desk, the red numbers blinking at him, reminding him how long it would be until he would see her face and hold her once again.
4:15.
They had been talking for half an hour, while she waited for her flight to board. “So what time will you land here?” he asked.
He heard the paper rattling through the phone and he knew she was checking her itinerary, “It says here we land at 9:51, but I’ll say 10, to be safe.”
“Well I’ll be waiting near the baggage claim.” It was like a cobra was coiled around her, squeezing her chest until she could no longer breathe.
“Are you sure you’re okay to pick me up? What about work?”
“I’ve got the day off.”
Her heart sank. There was no choice other than to go through with his plans.
Twenty-five past seven.
It was breaking her heart to know that the wonderful day she could only imagine he was planning was about to become his saddest, because of what she had to say.
His boss had not been happy with him for it, but he understood, when Angelo told him why he needed the day off. He had even congratulated him, saying he hoped it would go well.
Angelo stifled a yawn – he didn’t want Mary to think she was boring him to sleep. It was quite the opposite. He had slept lightly until she had called, knowing that any minute she would. Maybe, she thought, she could just let him have one last beautiful memory of their time together…. No! That would be cruel.
She could hear his inevitable failed attempt to hold back the yawn.
“You should just stay in bed, sleep. I’ll see you at my apartment later on.”
How sweet, he thought, how she didn’t want to put him out, how she always put others before herself. He loved that about her.
“No. I’ll be fine.” The cobra tightened its hold and she found herself gasping for air.
She hated herself feeling that way. It was not that she had stopped loving him, she always would, but his love overwhelmed her and at times, especially now felt like it was smothering her.
She fiddled with the 24 caret gold wrist band of her watch, and the pearl face caught a fluorescent light from overhead. The second hand was approaching the 6.
Twenty-nine past seven.
They talked for another minute, before he heard the announcement over airport’s P.A. system through the phone.
“THIS IS THE FINAL CALL FOR AMERICAN AIRLINES: FLIGHT 11 TO LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS. PASSENGERS PLEASE MAKE YOUR WAY TO GATE B32, SCHEDULED TO DEPART 7:45 AM.”
The cobra released its grip and she let out a sigh.
“That’s my flight I have to go. I’ll see you soon.”
“Okay. I –” Click! “love you.”
He hung up and placed his cell on the nightstand, with the tiny velvet box, making a mental note to remember to pick it up with his wallet, phone and car keys.
Mary strolled up the isle of the plane and checked her itinerary once again. Just as it had said the previous time she checked, Business Class, seat 10A. As she settled into the seat next to an olive skinned gentleman, he caught her eye and smiled. His brown eyes were so intense and she detected a hint of sadness.
She half returned the smile before turning towards the window.
“Everything will be okay,” he whispered, in broken English. She found his words strange. Had he noticed the dread in her eyes? Was her own sadness that transparent? What had prompted his kind words? Perhaps it was the tear that had snuck its way down her cheek and dripped onto her watch blurring its face.
Twenty minutes to eight.
She quickly brushed it away. She had to think of the bigger picture – of the brilliant start she was about to make to her career. Finally she would achieve something her folks could be proud of.
Angelo snuggled deeper under his feather doona, hoping he could catch enough sleep before he had to get everything ready and negotiate the traffic to the airport.
Beep!
It felt like he had only just begun to drift off to sleep, when he heard the message tone. He reached over to the night stand to pick it up and glanced at the words on the small screen.
“I U.” He smiled as he glanced over at the clock.
5:24.
He closed his eyes again, not realizing he was still cradling the cell phone in his hand, until its ring broke into the silence.
WORK.
He looked at the name, blinking at him on the phone and groaned.
6:10.
He barely took a minute to glance at the time.
He deliberated whether or not to answer it, but knew if he did, his boss would just keep calling. Reluctantly he pushed the green button and held the phone up to his ear.
“Angelo. It’s Bruce. You need to turn on the television.”
“What? Why?”
“Just do it.”
Without another word he climbed out of bed and threw on the first shirt he could find and with his phone still in his hand he made his way to the living room of his apartment.
After several minutes of searching for the remote control, he found it and clicked the power button.
As the television came to life, he could hear the sounds of people screaming as they ran from the direction of a burning building.
“Great movie Bruce, but why did you want me to watch it for. I could’ve just hired it to watch later.”
“That’s no movie. That’s the Twin Towers.”
Just as he said it, there was an explosion and the second tower was beginning to crumble as a jet flew into it. He remained, stunned in the middle of the lounge room, his feet rooted to the polished timber floor, his eyes glued to the screen in disbelief at the horrifying images playing out on the screen like a B grade Hollywood film. He could barely register what took place, on screen, nor could he focus on Bruce’s voice on the other end of the phone as he rubbed away the sleep from his bloodshot eyes.
“Angelo, Buddy, they’re saying the two planes were coming from Boston…”
Bruce did not need to say anything more.
Angelo let the phone crash to the floor as he sank into a black leather armchair. He could no longer speak and he could barely breathe. As the first tear fell, he wondered if he’d ever breathe properly again.
He blinked it away and focused on the phone on the floor. He tried to find strength enough to stand and reach for it, but his knees buckled until he was in a heap on the floor beside it. With clumsy hands he picked it up and rested it against his ear.
“Bruce, I have to go,” but Bruce had already hung up.
He fumbled with the menu button until he found Mary’s number and pressed the green button. There was no ring tone only an automated message.
“THE NUMBER YOU HAVE DIALED IS SWITCH OFF OR UN-AVAILABLE. PLEASE TRY AGAIN.”
He hit the red button to disconnect the call and tried again, hoping she was just on another call and that she would hang up again soon. The same message burned his ear and the pain shot to his heart. He felt like the room was closing in around him as he tried a third time, still no more successful than the first two attempts.
Then before he realized what he’d done, he was staring at the little heart symbol in her last text message. He closed his eyes and prayed he would never open them. His tears flowed freely, the only thing that escaped him.
A cool gust of wind brushed his arm and he thought for a minute he could feel her hand on his shoulder.
A tiny shiver ran down his spine, just enough to remind him he was still alive.
“I love you,” he was sure he could hear her sweet voice in the wind.