Turning Over a New Leaf

The Faeries are back, when a middle aged woman going on a walk makes a rather startling discovery. Its not all so straight forward though, how do you explain to your husband of 20 years that you rather spend your days with the Fae, than taking care of your daughter, what will he think?

She picked a leaf up from the ground and quickly suspected that somewhere between where she left her house and reached this point, she had lost her mind.

There was no other explanation for picking up the perfect leaf to press, and finding, what appeared to be a fairy beneath it.

The sight sparked something within her, a fragment of a memory. Seeing things like this, fairies, everywhere, and she shook her head to clear it. She had such an active imagination as a child, but now she was an adult, and seeing things like this as an adult…

The leaf shook, and she realized it was her hand that was shaking. Oh, oh no, she had a brain tumor. While there wasn’t a history of mental illness in her family, there was one of cancer, and there was a fairy laying on the ground in front of her. She was dying.

She took a step back, prepared to double time it back to the house, when the fairy stirred. When it saw her, it stopped for a second, and when it realized she was looking at it, it froze entirely. Then it was up, inches from her face, and then she heard it, the voice, tiny, reverberating, excited, as if it was coming from inside her own head.

“SHARON!” The fairy knew her name.

It flew around her letting out whoops of joy. “Sharon, Sharon, you can see me, it’s been so long, you just stopped and we tried and tried to talk to you, and you wouldn’t even look, but now you can see? What happened?” And this is how she spent the rest of her day, wandering the park with a fairy.

The more the fairy spoke, the more she remembered, of Buttercup and Dewdrop, and Stanley, who was rather dour, and for some reason strangely named. She felt like she was floating on her way home, like she had found a part of herself that had been missing, and she wondered how, how had she forgotten her friends.

It was all she thought about now, her “runs” started to increase, both in frequency and duration. She spent every moment she could at the local park, with her friends, and it took six months for anyone to realize that for all the running she was doing, she wasn’t getting very fit.

Her husband was the one to confront her.

“Don’t lie to me Sharon, I know you aren’t running. Is there someone else?” He pleaded for the truth and she wasn’t sure how to give it to him. There was nothing that she could say that he was going to believe. She barely believed it herself, and she was living it, but what could she do. This was her husband and she loved him. So she told him everything.

“Fairies?” He asked when she was done.

“Fairies.” She confirmed, and they sat there in silence.

“Sharon, I, could you tell me when you started seeing them again?” He asked after a long pause.

“Oh, about six months ago, right after I started running.” She explained.

“After you started the clean living diet?”He confirmed.

“Yes” She replied.

“Okay.” He said, and she waited for the other shoe to drop and it didn’t

The just went back to normal, and she found it so strange. How could you find out about fairies, and not want to meet one, see one. Maybe he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to see them.

Two weeks later, when their daughter was at his parents for a sleepover he brought them up again.

“Sharon, I think we need to discuss the Fairies.” He stated as they were washing the dishes from dinner.

“What about them?” She asked.

“So, I thought that they were a side effect. Maybe one of those all natural supplements you were taking had something wrong with it, ergot poisoning or the like, so I had them tested.” He started.

“And, they were all fine?” She stated, she knew they were.

“Yes, and you understand though, why I had to check”

“It seemed crazy, even to me, so ya, I get it.” She countered.

“Okay, so I looked into mental illnesses, and based on your age, I couldn’t really find anything that fit. You are a little on the older side for the closest ones” He continued.

“Okay.” She didn’t like where this was going.

“And then I remembered what you said. About remembering them, from when you were a teenager, I uh,” He held up a container with her iron supplements.

“You what? Thought the iron was keeping them away? We started using the iron fish thing, eating iron rich foods. I didn’t decrease my iron intake, so nothing would have changed.” She explained.

“And if they were iron, nothing would have.”

“What, they say iron right there on the label?” And they did.

“Yes, but, you know I always hated that doctor of yours, and well I had these tested too. They aren’t iron, and when I found out what they were, I called your doctor, and confronted him with it. Your parents, they didn’t want you to know, and they worked so well, as long as you took them.”

“What are they?” She felt numb.

“Anti-psychotics. Specifically for early onset schizophrenia.” He stated, and she put down the plate hard on the counter.

She wanted to fight it, to say he was wrong, but it was who her parents were. The kind of people who would sweep a mental illness under a rug of iron pills. If they let her know, she might have told people, tarnished the family name.

“I’ll start taking them again.” She said woodenly, holding out her hand.

“Uh, thats the thing, when you go back on them, they will need you to be monitored, regularly to make sure they are working and the dosage is right. There are side effects, it might be why you couldn’t get the weight off. They, well, sometimes when you stop and start again, they don’t work right. You will need to meet with a psychiatrist.” He talked to her like he talked to their daughter, and oh god their daughter. Why hadn’t she asked when her doctor told her to cut back when she was pregnant. Thank god their daughter had been healthy, the thought that she could have hurt her baby made her want to cry.

“Okay, when.” She asked, all fight gone from her limbs. She was crazy.

“I have an appointment, first thing tomorrow. Someone good, someone…good” She knew he wanted to say your parents didn’t pay off.

“Honey, its going to be okay.” He continued.

She smiled and nodded, but she knew, it would never be okay again.

Okay, I admit it, I am obsessed with the Fae, and schizophrenia. I mean there are a lot of early Fae stories that can be explained by natural phenomena, or toxic mold, but mental illness probably played its fair share as well. Not just schizophrenia, but also autism, depression, and anxiety can be linked back to the old stories. Believe me, this is not the last you see of the Fae here.

The Warmth of Summer

It seems that I once again have a slight obsession about doors, and stepping through them, which is why I couldn’t resist The Writer’s Mess weekly picture prompt below.  Follow a little girl who has to make a decision, does she stay, or does she go…

She could smell the sweet scent of summer flowers blowing in from the garden, and walked towards it.  The smell was intoxicating, with it’s promise of a rich summer day, so tempting when she got the smallest glimpse of green around the edge of the blue door before her.

She looked back towards the nursery where she had children to care for, even though it should have been her mother’s job, and then back towards the door.

It called for her, come, stay, be free, it said, and she wanted nothing more than to go to it, but she couldn’t…or could she.

The wind blew the door a little further open, and the bright blue skey beckoned to her.

Before she knew it, she was at the threshold, and the wail of her little brother, which should have held her pack, pushed her through, and even at ten she knew that she wanted more than she would get in this place.

The warmth of sun-kissed grass melted her toes, frozen from walking on stone in winter, and all at once she realized that this could not be happening, but when she turned to go back, there was no door, only a field that stretched as far as the eye could see.

She had made her choice, and it seemed, that she would have to live with it, here, in this land of eternal sunshine.

A Wish Came True

Following my ongoing theme, this is dark, twisty, and about getting what you want. The idea being, you might get it, but maybe (probably), not the way you expected. It’s inspired by someone I know who was trying to get an old tenant out and get a contractor, and ended up getting what he wanted when the tenant’s new roommate vandalized both units of his duplex. And of course, those tv shows that I will not name, where I have seen more than one average person running it land really badly, and made me wonder if anyone ever got hurt doing it.

The show had sounded harmless enough. It was just an obstacle course, and she really needed the money. The kooky story they made her rehearse was fine. Sure it made her sound like a little bit of an idiot, but she could live with that for a chance at that much money.

It was only one week, and they would pay 5000 just to be on the show. There would be 10000 to get to the semi finals, 15000 if she made the finals, and the grand prize, the part that everyone knew about was 250000 dollars and she needed the money.

It ended up that she needed a lot more than that. She hadn’t thought much of the medical waiver she had to sign, it had been glossed over as standard, boiler plate, indemnity from pre-existing conditions, but as she lay in the hospital with a broken back, and the possibility of never walking again, she wished she had read it more carefully

Or really, had her lawyer read it. The problem was she was young, and she had been healthy, and really nothing her lawyer could have told her would have talked her out of going on the show.

She had a mountain of student debt, medical bills from her late mother, and this was supposed to be the thing to help get her out of it. Instead, she lay here dreading what would come out of this.

It seemed she wouldn’t have to wonder long, a lawyer from the show came once they had a better idea of her prognosis. It seemed that despite not making it past the first obstacle, her injury would win her the grand prize and a lot more, plus up to two years of treatment for medical coverage. All she had to do was sign the confidentiality clause, never telling anyone how this had happened.

She was smarter, she got a lawyer this time, but given what she had signed prior to going on the show, this was the best she would ever get. So she took it, and it wiped out her debt. It set her up with the things she needed for her new life, and it kept her up at night.

She knew there was that old proverb “be careful what you wish for”, and now she knew why people called it a curse. She got everything she wanted, her loans gone, her mother’s bills paid, finally enrolled in law school, and with enough cash to see her through the first two years. In the end, all it cost her was her legs…And her ability to sleep at night.

She lay staring at the ceiling, wondering, if she had known back then, what she knew now, would she have still gone through with it? And could she live with herself, knowing that by signing that agreement, getting everything she wanted, she had forfeited the right to warn people that it could happen to them too. Well, it was too late now, all she could do was use this to help others, she thought, as she signed up for a seminar focusing on becoming a personal injury lawyer.

One in a Million

I wrote this piece in two parts, part one on a good day where I was happy and in a good mood, and the second when I was not having a great day. I am sure you will be able to see where the switch happen. This is a tragic romance featuring a quirky young woman that meets the man of her dreams, plans to marry him, and well…the best laid plans.

Joey was her other half, and before Connie met him, she made fun of people who said such silly, sappy nonsense. She didn’t need another person to complete her, she was more than capable of being happy on her own.

She wasn’t looking for anyone when she met him. It was at a writing group at a bistro downtown, and at first she thought he was a bit pretentious. Well, actually, he was a bit pretentious, but over time she saw the rest of him too, and there were worse things to be overall.

Really, it wasn’t love at first sight. They didn’t even date for over a year, they were friends right up until she was trying to write the perfect love interest for her thinly veiled self insertion character, add she realized that she was making up him. She didn’t ask him out then though. It was another two months of self reflection, and self deprecation, and asking the question, why would he want someone like me, before she realized that the worst that could happen is he would say no. Maybe it would be awkward, maybe it would be unpleasant, but all in all, it was better than thinking about it all the time. When he said no, she would have her answer.

And then, and then he did the unexpected thing. He said yes, and Connie was flummoxed, but why would he say yes? The weird part was, at first almost nothing changed, they already met up outside of group, they did dinner, and went to movies, and it was humiliating to explain to your other friends, that you were mostly dating before, and the kissing was great, but you kind of expected the change to be a little more dramatic than that.

The sex didn’t really change it either… Okay, it did a little, but in a good way, but for the most part, they were still them. They still argued about which writing books were shit, and which were on point. They still both liked hot cocoa when writing over coffee, and he still ordered cake and shared it, even though it was mostly the allow her to eat 90% of a piece of cake when she couldn’t justify the expense on with her budget.

She didn’t fall in love all at once, it was by degrees, it was the cliché of all clichés, him catching her when she started to fall, that made her realize. He was watching, and he knew she wouldn’t be, and he was there, ready to catch her anyways rather than trying to get her to stop reading while she walked and she didn’t know why that sparked love to her, but it did. It was who he was, who they were, and it was a little ridiculous, but that was when she knew it.

She had never been happier than the day he asked her to marry him. She didn’t expect it, she wasn’t that girl. He had dragged her on a nature hike, she didn’t hike and when they got to the clearing she was hot and sweaty, and really, really, over trees. Actually, she thought that people were into trees were stupid, and didn’t get that they were just trees. It would be like bees making bees fly all over the place cause they were like into flowers, and she was explaining this entire premise to Joey when he smiled and said he loved her. Ya ya, she loved him too, and then he dropped to one knee, and asked and she said yes, but on one condition.

He looked worried, but agreed, not even asking the condition, and she leaned in and whispered in his ear. “You never make me go hiking again.” He looked stunned, and then they laughed, until they cried.

They were half way home, when he finally admitted it. “I should have gone with plan B.”

“What was plan B?” She was more than a bit curious.

“Well everyone said it was a bit on the nose.” He said with a flush. “It was in this bookstore-”

She stopped him there. “I need a list.”

“What?” He looked over, eyes wide.

“I need a list, of every idiot, who told you it was better to drag me on a nature hike instead of going to a book store so that I can beat them to death with my sweaty hiking boots.”

He looked a little dismayed, but she let out a laugh. “No, no, it was good, perfect. I might have expected it then. This, this was perfect, spontaneous, and since I will never do anything like it ever again, both unqiue and memorable” And well, he wanted to marry her.

She had grown up on Disney and princesses, and from the moment she was old enough to realize that life wasn’t like that, a prince doesn’t just pick you based on a song in the woods, she had never thought that someone would want to marry ME!

She was a train wreck, volleying between depression and anxiety like a yo-yo, except those truly horrendous days where thy teamed up to make her absolutely crazy, and he knew that. He had been her friend before they dated, and he knew that there were going to be times she was late because she couldn’t find her umbrella, and the forecast said rain, and when she finally showed umbrellaless she was going to be upset and distracted, because thats who she was, and that was the crazy ass person he wanted to marry.

If Connie was surprised, her parents were floored. Ya, it was a blow to the ego, but apparently even her Mom thought it was weird that this dude wanted to marry her.

So Joey and her started planning, keeping it small, potluck, taking the money that her parents gave them to put the down payment on a small house. They spent the months up the the wedding in renovations, living in drywall dust, and no kitchen, and it was great because this was it, and they were in love, and when they got back from the honeymoon, a single night at a non-budget hotel, they were gonna have a house that was done. She planted flowers in the front garden, her, who was well known in her hatred of gardening, because there was something about a home to begged for a little bit of flowers. Before she knew it, it was her wedding day.

The dress was her mother’s, tailored to fit, and free to boot. It was only their immediate family at the justice of the peace, the rest of the gang would show for the reception later at the hall. Connie stood there with her parents, and his, and his sisters and waited. And waited, and then everyone started calling him, and it was okay, because despite the looks on her parent’s faces, the lingering doubts, she knew he loved her, and he wouldn’t just not show up.

They were shuffled aside and she watched as six other couples get married while they waited. Finally his sister said she was going to go looking for him. She would keep her phone on, and they were call her to come back when he showed. Connie loved that she had said when, she understood.

When Connie saw his number on her phone, she rushed to answer it, and her heart fell when it was his sister, so much so that she didn’t register the tone until a few seconds had passed.

“Connie.” Her voice was hoarse, and wet and Connie felt dizzy hearing it.

“No.” Connie said, and her parents rushed to her side, sure she was being jilted.

“Connie, I. I’m so sorry. Con, he, he’s” His sister broke into sobs and she knew.

“Dead.” She finished and his parents and hers froze.

“They are sending someone. Con, he’s still in bed, he’s cold, I think, I think he died in his sleep.” Sh nodded numbly, and looked at her parents. “We need a cab to Joey’s” and She handed the phone to his parents, and a few moments later his mother began to wail.

It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life. It had been, and all she could think is that he never got that, never woke up to see this day.

She stood at the funeral, not quite a widow, and then she went back to their perfect house and sobbed. She couldn’t sleep in it, not even a single night. She sold it, against the advice of those around me to wait six months before making a big decision, and bought something smaller.

Two bedrooms instead of 4, no basement, no big backyard for the kids. Her Mom said she was making a mistake, she would regret it one day, but she wouldn’t. Joey was a fluke, one in a million, and she knew that as long as she lived she wouldn’t find anyone else like him.

Her writing improved with the pain, the tortured artist cliché was now her life, and she lived alone in that house, with her writing until she was with him again.