We had just called it a night. A storm raged outside, wind and rain battling each other to see which was worse. But we were safe in each other’s arms, spooning like we invented it, nuzzled up tight. Sleeping with her, in her home and in her room, meant sleeping on a queen-sized bed. Melanie claimed she liked the space, but I knew her secret.
Right on time, I heard the door open, then tiny feet scuffing their way across the hardwood floor to the rug under the bed. Quiet as the moon, those feet made their way to Melanie’s side of the bed. The storm had scared her eight-year old daughter, Tima. She climbed into bed in a practiced move, sliding between the waiting arms of her mom’s protection.
Suddenly I felt mischievous. I opened my eyes in the dark and felt around, wondering what was wrong, searching for answers. When I found Tima’s arm I gave Melanie a nudge.
“Wha…” she said, trying to slip back into her dreams.
“I don’t mean to alarm you”, I said, “but it seems we have a kid in the bed.”
“Yeah, that’s Tima, go to sleep.”
“Yeah, but how’d she get in here?”
Melanie, a little miffed about being kept awake, said “She came in through the door, what do you think?”
The whole time Tima was silent. She didn’t like storms and wasn’t too sure about me, and needed the safe haven of her mother’s arms to sleep, although it didn’t come readily.
“Oh”, I said, “right, through the door. Yeah, whatever you say. I happen to know she flew in. So if you want to play this game, ok, you win.”
There was silence for a moment. I planted a little seed in Melanie’s head, one that was about to blossom.
She turned her head to me. “What do you mean ‘she flew in’?” Ah, it bloomed.
“Look, it’s ok, don’t worry about it. I know Tima’s half-fairy, so no worries.” I snuggled my head down, feigning an attempt to go back to sleep.
“What are you talking about?” She had turned her head to me, looking for answers. She took the bait, now to reel her in.
“I’m talking about Tima. I read about it in the compendium.”
“The compendium. It’s a book that lists every magical event in the world. I read about the blessing you got, and how it made Tima half-fairy.” Tima had been quiet the whole time, laying close to her mother. But I knew she was listening.
“The wha…? What blessing?”
“Ok, listen, I shouldn’t be telling you about this, but the compendium tells of a wizard that came to you when you were little more than Tima’s age.”
“Oh, you buggin’. I ain’t never seen no wizard when I was Tima’s age.”
“That’s because you were asleep at the time. You see, he came looking for a short rib from a little girl to finish a potion.” I felt along Melanie’s side, making her jump.
“No tickles, stop!”
“I’m sorry, I’m just looking for, ah, here it is.” I found her short rib, the one at the bottom of her rib cage.
“Stop” she said, stifling a giggle.
“No listen, that’s the one he was after. But after seeing your cute face he couldn’t go through with it. So instead he gave you a blessing. He waved his wand around and said ‘Bippity, Boppity, Boop’”. I had waved my hand in the air to mimic the wizard, then I booped her nose, making it twitch. She scratched at it while Tima continued her silence. I wished I could see her face. The darkness of the bedroom wouldn’t allow it, I would just have to guess at her expressions.
“When he did that he left you with a blessing. And that blessing got passed on to Tima. And now she’s a half-fairy. So when you say she came in the door it’s actually your mind that assumes that’s what she did. See you’re not magic, so you wouldn’t see her on the other side of the door changing into a tiny little fairy. Then she flew up and climbed her way through the keyhole. Once inside she flew under the covers and became human again.”
First there was silence. Then a question.
“Can I see this, compendium?”
“I’m sorry, you have to be magic to see it. I could hold it in my lap and you wouldn’t even know it was there. I’m so sorry.” I kissed her neck in an attempt to help ease the pain of not being magic.
“So you’re magic?”
“Eh, sometimes. Not all the time.”
“Oh, I see. Well I’m going back to sleep.”
“Ok. Goodnight. Goodnight Tima.”
Silence returned, but not for long. I heard Tima, all thoughts of the storm outside gone away, say in a quiet voice:
Drowsiness replied. “Yeah baby.”
“I’m a half-fairy.”
Melanie squeezed her tighter and said “And a half-blessing.” The sound of a mother’s kiss filled the room, another blessing on her forehead.
I put my arm around both of them, and this time Tima didn’t shrug it away. I’ve always had issues with dating single mothers. It was always the kids who I had to get between or around or try to befriend. And if it didn’t work out it wasn’t just the mom that felt heartache. But this one I think will work out.
I heard them both slip into sleep. This had the effect of me slipping too. I was feeling a lot of love for my new family. I think I’m now getting it back from both of them.