For the Electric Purple Prompt.
“What is it, Lilly?”
“Look!” My daughter thrusts the canning jar in my face. She’s poked holes in the top and stuffed the bottom with bits of green and a few of Barbie’s sparkly bits-and-bobs. I expect to see butterfly wings beating against the glass or a ladybug on a leaf, but it’s empty.
“What am I looking for, Lil?”
Lilly’s eyes go wide. “You don’t see her?”
I put my book aside and slip from my perch into the grass, my head level with hers. I resist the urge to tug on one of her springy curls. She doesn’t like it. At five, she’s too serious for that.
“Well, of course I can’t, Miss Lil – you haven’t introduced us properly, yet.”
Lilly studies the jar, as though listening intently.
“She says you’re right, Mommy. Mommy, I’d like you to meet the fairy that lives in our garden. Her name is Merrie. Merrie, this is my Mommy.”
I incline my head. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Merrie.” I look up at Lil, waiting. Although Barbie’s bangles are sparkling prettily in the setting sun, to me the jar is still empty. Lil looks at me hopefully. I address the jar: “I hope you enjoy our garden. I wonder, are you the reason it looks so beautiful this year? Do you have a favorite flower?”
“The bleeding hearts,” Lilly says after a moment – Merrie must need translating. And, Merrie has good taste; that is Lilly’s favorite as well.
“Well, that is a spring flower, what about the summer ones?”
Again, Lilly and the jar converse. Barbie’s baubles wink at me.
Lilly looks at me and shrugs. “Merrie says her favorite summer flower isn’t in the garden. She likes the Queen Anne’s Lace. And Mommy, Merrie was wondering if you would let some grow with the other wildflowers.”
I smile and tug that curl. “I’d do anything if it would keep our resident fairy happy,” I reply. Lilly loves the Queen Anne’s Lace too – clever child. “But what do you say about letting Merrie out of the jar, Miss Lil? I’m sure her family is looking for her – and she can’t very well enjoy the flowers cooped up in there, can she?”
Lilly holds the jar to her ear and then looks at me. She holds my gaze and says very seriously, “Mommy, Merrie says you’re right. She says she’s the queen’s daughter and she’ll be missed at the feast tonight.”
Lilly quickly unscrews the cap and I watch as she quietly urges the nothing inside to fly away home. As the last of the sun disappears over the hedge, a stray ray catches – not Barbie’s baubles, but something – and Lilly and I are drenched in color and light.
The little winged maid rising from the jar laughs with the sweetest music. She shimmers and dances in the air, dazzling our eyes. When she leaves us – and with the flicker of our eyelids, she does – the air remains alive with her magic, the afterglow of a fairy’s kiss.