Everything appeared different at night. The world we’d dreamt of looked more of a dream than ever. A gentle hush fell upon the land as we left the world of the big people behind, a paused breath. Tristania never once let go of my hand; I was glad. Her wings shone in the moonlight like crystal, her eyes like portals to other worlds, better worlds, our world, the one we should never have left.
And there in the cosseted warmth of the kindly owl, we slipped back under the willow’s dangling tendrils and into a realm no others had seen.
The owl left with a hoot. We waved until we could see him no more, then waved again.
“Shall we go tell them we love each other?” I said, kissing Tristania on the cheek.
“I suspect they already know,” she smiled.
We walked the rest of the way home without the need for a willow tree to hide us. We would never need anything to hide us again, nor wish for it do so.
The owl’s tale went something like this.
They came last. The big people observed all that had gone before: animals; trees; flowers, beauty; life, then tore it to pieces. Their world is one of the unnatural, the abnormal, the necessity to decline, death. They strive for perfection, for answers to unanswerable questions and ever will. They have forgotten the one truth: nature is in all of us. The world of the big people is no place for little ones like you. Go home to your willow and your wood and those who weep for your return even now, Tristan and Tristania. Go home.
We hadn’t told him our names; the owl was just wise. He offered us a wing upon which we climbed. There, beneath a hunter’s moon, we departed in a waft of silent feathers and tears for what we’d imagined wonderful. We left without them even knowing we’d been.
To Be Continued…
We stumbled across the first of the big people at the side of a hedge. He didn’t see us, but we saw him. He seemed to have sprung a leak and was flooding out fast. We left him to it because we were far too small to help and weren’t ready to be noticed. Next, came a small big person, if you know what I mean? The small big person kicked a round thing in the air that almost squashed us on its way down. We left him to it and flew on.
By nightfall, we’d flown further than any faerie might’ve dreamed. Tristania was exhausted, so we stopped in a tree that appeared to be the only one for miles around. We sat on a branch hand in hand and looked around at all the stone buildings that stretched in straight lines for ever and ever. Each spouted plumes of black smoke that made my eyes water and Tristania cough. It got so bad that an owl, whose kind had always been friendly to us little folk, invited us into his hole in the tree and made us a drink of nettle tea. There, safe from the smoke and the big people, the owl told us a tale.
To Be Continued…
Tristania hooked me by my britches, causing a groan, extended her gossamer wings and flew us away. Over the babbling brook, beyond the meadows and into the Wide Nowhere, as our kind called it, we sped before the others realised us gone. Like dragonflies, we dashed and zoomed, flittered and fluttered, until in a pop of faerie dust, the world beyond the borders of our magical world was breached. We were free. For the first time in our lives, we were wide-eyed and free.
If truth was told, I never thought we’d make it. I expected legions of faerie folk to take to the backs of robins and sparrows, skylarks and wrens, and come hurtling after us. When they didn’t, it was kind of anticlimactic. A smile from Tristania soon settled me though. A smile from Tristania always did.
To Be Continued…
Under the willow by the lake, our clandestine rendezvous. Where wisterias blooms wrapped us in unearthly perfumes, we dallied and danced and sang. Hidden, we expressed our love.
She dressed in the manner of all her kind: green blouse; violet leggings; small, silver tiara; her wings as always remained uncovered. Being male, I was attired in my usual cobweb cape and little else; males had no wings to worry about. We were, of course, faerie folk and this is the tale of our love. My name is Tristan and hers Tristania.
We were meant for each other, always had been, always would be. From the first day we met, the day they made us from the very same rose petals, and ever after to the time we would diminish, we were destined to be one. Our home in the woods was to be our home forever. Yet the world beyond the willow, the last tree on the edge of our abode, remained an unknown source of wonderment. Or rather, it was unknown, but no longer. We would stay hidden no more.
To Be Continued…
A small cough revealed her hiding behind a chair. I pretended not to see her, even looked away, but the flash of her eyes pierced the room’s midnight. Why she was here, who knew, perhaps fate or fragility? But when I opened the window that a stiff breeze had slammed closed behind her, she simply flew away.
I have never told this tale to anyone, not family, friend or foe. People would’ve thought me mad to speak of the little people, those we call faerie. Reputations are tarnished by such things and I was never a brave man. So why, you ask? Why now? Why us? Know this, my dear, dear readers, I’m telling you because tonight she’s back. And I won’t be.
Here’s a little children’s story to finish my petal themed day.
She lived beneath a bucket tucked behind the old tool shed. No one ever saw her as it was much too dark and overgrown with wild roses, brambles and a smothering layer of ivy. The latter had grown so haywire that to an outsider the whole ensemble looked like one big, green mess. To Petal it was home.
Petal was one of the little people that some called wood elves, others, flower faeries. Regardless of names, she enjoyed life to the fullest with several chaffinches and a beautiful, lone blue tit that nested near her bucket. It was the chaffinches who first noticed her gone.
All the small creatures of the garden set out to find Petal. Never had there been such a slithering, scurrying, fluttering madness around the garden, but such was she loved that all the creatures panicked.
That was in the Spring. By Summer, the baby chaffinches had fledged and left home, and most had forgotten Petal. When Fall’s russets and golds happened upon the garden, Petal was but a wished for friend. By Winter, she was no more than a memory.
Spring returned to the garden with the twittering call of a blue tit, the one they’d all forgotten when Petal went amiss. It wasn’t alone. There, sat astride the little bird’s back, clutching her daisy chain harness like her life depended upon it, smiled Petal. To the garden’s tiny creatures, she was beauty personified, a goddess in miniature, a perfect being. None of them knew her, though. They were all new. And that was how it had always been.
You see, Petal couldn’t bear to stay too long in the garden, she being a Faerie and living forever, the little ones only months. She didn’t have the heart to stay, so sad it made her. It was easier to let them forget her than she to forget them, as she did and would until the garden was swallowed by time and the only petal in the landscape would be her. Petal knew that day would one day come, but until then, she had new friends to make. And forget.