To Squash a Fairy
By Kassy Keppol
She lay with her back to the wall, concentrating on breathing evenly. Staring at the wasp on the pillow in front of her, she refused to turn over to watch the army crawling up the wall. Tory normally would have liked the distraction of witnessing the yellow and black bodies march across the chipped pansy wallpaper; instead she puffed her breath out and ruffled the wings of the small creature in front of her.
“Yesterday I imagined you were an encampment of fairies instead of bees. I dreamt of you building rooms inside my walls and held one hand on the torn paper to feel the low hum you made. Singing you were. I put my other hand between the folds of my night gown on my heart and hummed along. The beat of my heart and the racket you were making almost matched. But you are not fairies. You are bugs and I am too sad to turn over and marvel at your ingenuity in getting out of the wall. “
Flopping onto her back she tangled the creature in her long hair as she rolled. It crawled out and flew away. “If only I hadn’t squashed the fairy. Then I would not have grown up” she mumbled closing her eyes to remember.
Yesterday she had been carefree as she climbed the tree by the road leading to town. It was the perfect tree for climbing and held the most fairy branches. You know the kind that droop down and shade places that you are sure fairies can hide. She had climbed up to the top of the tree and was upside down letting the leaves wave at her. Blossoms fell in a shower of pink catching in her hair and coloring the ground. She was happily giggling and swaying in the air.
She had known if she let go of the branch she wouldn’t fall but would soar through the clouds as she flapped her arms and flew. She didn’t try it though. Flying isn’t a skill to show off, but she knew she could fly. She knew that there were fairies, and possibly dragons, hiding in the tree with her.
Yesterday she heard Joey, the delivery boy, run across the road and she got distracted almost falling from her high-up perch. She had been noticing him more lately and liked to watch him deliver his goods. Catching a branch as she had turned to watch him go by she saw a fairy. The fairy was on a limb beyond Tory’s fingertips. It was laughing as the branches danced in the wind, moving lazily back and forth, giving it a ride.
Tory had frozen, stared while holding her breath, and then slowly tried to scoot inchworm style closer. That is when Joey saw her and began to scold. “Tory, get down! We are too old for climbing.” His yelling startled the fairy and it flew out of the branches behind Joey’s head. Tory dove out of the tree almost landing on top of Joey as she fell. “Tory, what are you doing!” he scolded giving her a shake. She didn’t answer, but started to follow the faint glimmer of wings as they flew across the street.
“Wait a minute!” Joey yelled grabbing her arm. Joey was in the same grade in school as Tory but he was so grown up. He already had a job delivering groceries for the local market, and he looked really nice in his uniform. A blush rose on Tory’s face as he began pulling blossoms out of her hair and setting her hair to rights. She looked over her shoulder and watched the fairy fly into the grocery store’s open door.
“I’ve got to go.” she whispered and ran after it. Joey followed her, easily keeping up. She saw the fairy by a crate of oranges in the corner of the store. As she moved forward for a closer look, Joey stepped in front of her. As Tory moved forward, Joey moved back a step. That is when the unthinkable happened. Joey stepped on the fairy.
Tory watched as the tiny wings crumbled and white goo spread out on the linoleum from under his shoe. The fairy bled just like when you step on a bug. Tory freaked and began to yell. confusing Joey and causing him to grind his heal on the struggling fairy. Tory watched it’s eyes roll back and knew it was gone. She sobbed and threw her hands over her face. “You have killed it, it is smashed!” she sobbed.
Joey looked down at his shoe perplexed and grabbed Tory’s hands. “Tory, I only smashed a tube of sunscreen. I will pay for it honest. You don’t need to be this upset. I will pay for it.” As Tory continued to hiccup he patted her back. ” What you need is a nice milkshake, we’ll go get one after I pay for this. “ It was at that moment that Tory knew that she didn’t want to remember that Joey has squashed a fairy, she wanted to go out with him and could only do that if she truly believed he had stepped on a tube of sunscreen. So that is what she did, believed the unbelievable.
Everyone who has ever read Peter Pan knows that if you don’t believe in fairies they die. Tory’s fairy was already dead leaving a faint smear of sunscreen on the floor where gossamer wings had briefly fluttered. Tory had decided to grow up on the spot. When she looked, instead of seeing a smashed fairy, she saw a tube of sunscreen. And her life could never be the same.
© 2010 Kassy Keppol