I remember the first time I realized fairies were just a myth. I was twelve. I know it sounds ridiculous to believe in mythical creatures at that age but if you grew up with a mother like mine, you would’ve believed in them too. She used to take me and Tania in the woods behind our house at dusk and we would chase them around the brush trying to capture them in mason jars. She made us believe they were real. It was like the magic sparkled in her eyes and you couldn’t deny her truth in the moment.
One time, when I was ten, I told her they were just fireflies. She told me if I kept the jar by my bed at night, they would turn into fairies but only when I fell asleep because we weren’t supposed to know that they existed among us. It wasn’t until I was twelve that I pretended to sleep, I was so good at it that I almost believed it myself, and I watched the brightly glowing jar carefully in the mirror across from my bed. The fairy never appeared and I knew it wasn’t due to my performance, I was dedicated. I opened the jar and held the flickering light in my hand, studying it meticulously. The last of my hope spilled from my eyes and slid down my cheeks as I realized it was just a bug, nothing more. That was the last night my mom lied to me because after that, I never trusted her stories again.
I worry about Tania and how her eyes still light up when Mom tells her stories of the fairy world. I can’t tell if she’s just humoring her or if she still hopes there’s a fairy land somewhere out there. Maybe she needs those stories to make up for our troubling reality. I know I did. I don’t know why I’m reminiscing, I guess I just hate being lied to and ultimately disappointed.
I miss when times were simpler and I called on the fairies for their magic and strength when Mom would spiral out of control, breaking vases and flower pots around the house and cutting her feet on the scattered shards, leaving bloody footprints and tiny puddles of lost tears on the floor for me to clean. Then she would mourn her dead plants and apologize to them when she finally left her room days later. She would hold me tight and cry in my hair, promising never to skip her medication again and whispering over and over, “I thought I was okay. I’m not okay.” My eyes would swell while I held back my tears, knowing the moment wouldn’t last long. But I believed her then. I believed in her. And then I gave up on her.
I stopped crying over those incidents when I stopped looking to the fairies for help. I just grew up and learned to deal with problems instead of wishing them away.
“Supper’s ready, Nixie.” Serafina stood at Nixie’s bedroom door, smiling fondly at her oldest daughter.
Nixie closed her journal and set it down on her nightstand. There was no need to hide it, her mom never went through her things. Serafina was a strong believer that every girl was entitled to her secret thoughts and she encouraged Nixie’s independence. In fact, she envied it since she herself harbored an unhealthy fear of being left alone to waste away while the world around her carried on without her. With Nixie pulling away and slipping further through her fingertips, she clung tightly to Tania’s adolescence, feeding into her innocence in hopes that she would never leave her. But all little girls grow up and she knew she would have to face her mountainous fear someday. Just not today.