The Shoelace Fairy

Lessie was born many years ago and earned her full grown wings almost immediately.  She flew all over the gold forest, sometimes returning to the flowery area where her mother had taken her to learn how to fly.  Today she decided to bring home a floral bouquet of yellows, pinks and blues to her mother to thank her for all she had done in raising this tiny little being.

Soon, Lessie would be old enough to make her first appearance in the human world.  Her parents had talked about the day she would do this, always making sure she knew it wasn’t a banishment spell, but rather a coming of age event.  The rules for this were quite different than those of the banishment spell.

Lessie would be allowed to be visible at will to children and adults as well.  It would all depend upon what she hoped to accomplish.  Even though it was up to her to decide what task she would choose to do, much like her brothers and sisters, and cousins, and friends, she made the decision to interact with a child.  They were so much more open to receiving her when she made herself visible to them.

Adults, on the other hand, were always skeptical.  They frequently rubbed their eyes as if something had gotten in them and they were trying to get it out.  They would rub and blink, rub and blink until the fairy disappeared.  They were afraid to tell anyone what they thought they had seen for fear of being thought strange or not quite well.  That’s why most fairies still deal only with children.  Their minds are always open to the unusual, to fantasy and, of course, fairies.

There had been a story passed around the fairy kingdom about several children who had seen fairies in their gardens, even taken photographs of them, only to be accused of making their stories up, of somehow faking their photographs.  But the fairy kingdom knew better.  They had stolen their way into these children’s gardens and witnessed these fairies themselves and knew the story to be true.  Grownups.  Most had lost their ability to fantasize, to believe in the unbelievable and they were the worse for this loss.

Other grownups had believed the children’s stories, had seen the photographs and even though there had allegedly been no proof that the children had made the story up, they believed and continued to do so.  These grownups were special and were visited by fairies but not for the same reasons as children.  Fairy visits to grownups were even more special than those to children.  Theirs was a restoration of a belief in nature and the miracles it brought forth to those open enough to enjoy them, to learn from them.

Lessie had already made up her mind that she would make her first visit to a little boy who was special.  This little boy had been born with weak legs and was only able to get around in a wheelchair.  Lessie decided he needed a little magic in his life, magic which would open up his somewhat limited world to the unusual and the knowledge that nothing was impossible if you believed.

Joseph never complained.  He went to school every day and maneuvered his chair wherever he wanted it to go.  At first, many of the children were surprised to see a student like him.  Some accepted him right away; others shied away from him because of their own insecurities.  Joseph didn’t mind.  He knew that he might not be able to walk from school room to room, but he had a gift they didn’t have.  He could see beyond what they could see.  He could see fairies.

Lessie was his first.

Joseph was in bed when she first arrived.  He didn’t rub his eyes, or blink a million times.  He just watched her flit around his room, finally resting on the arm of his wheelchair.  The only problem that fairies had with humans was that they could not communicate in language.  They communicated in singular sounds that reminded Joseph of wind chimes or sometimes they sounded like a soft musical humming.  They could also use gestures to get their point across.  This was just the first of the many visits Lessie would make before returning home to the gold forest.

Lessie studied the boy, trying to decide what she could do to help him keep his open mind, to show him that there was, indeed, magic in his world.  Joseph soon fell asleep, the image of Lessie entering his mind and hoped he would soon see her again.  He told no one about what he had seen because, even though his parents were really understanding and always encouraged him to strive for whatever he wished to do in this world, he wasn’t sure how they would react to him telling them he had been visited by a fairy.

After watching Joseph’s daily routine, while staying invisible, she focused on what he talked about with his family.  He expressed many things he wished he could do if he were not wheelchair bound and Lessie listened and then listened some more.  And, at last, she decided that she would teach him something simple, but something which would stay with him forever.

She would teach him how to tie his shoes.

Joseph was never able to tie his shoes as his feet couldn’t move and most of the time his parents or his brother or sister would tie them for him.  He never imagined that he might be able to so himself someday.  He didn’t dwell on this inability, he just tucked it away, accepting what he could do and what he couldn’t.

But Lessie knew he could do it and she was determined that, although it might be a small feat compared to other tasks he might wish he could do, this one ability might be just what he needed to reach out and tackle other things he thought he couldn’t do.  It would give him self confidence to explore the rest of his world in a way which would be beneficial to him and him alone.

Another night, Lessie reappeared.  Joseph was still awake and although he couldn’t walk, he could sit up.  And he did.  He reached out his little hand to Lessie and she flew over and landed gently on it.  She sang to him and although there were no words, he understood her completely.

His shoes were by his bed.  Lessie flew from his hand down to one of his shoes and pointed.  Her song continued but Joseph was now unsure what she wanted.  The laces were undone and Lessie flew around the one shoe several times pointing and gesturing toward them.  Joseph tried to understand but just couldn’t and so he went to sleep.  Lessie fell asleep beside him on his pillow, one hand resting on his head and sending him wonderful fairy dreams.

When he awoke, all he could remember was having seen his fairy again the night before and he had the strangest feeling that he had dreamed about fairies the whole night through.  His parents came into his room and prepared him for school, tying his shoelaces once he was in his chair.

The next night, Lessie returned once again.  Her music was louder this time and she beckoned to him to sit up and look down at his shoes.  Ever so slowly, Lessie picked up one lace and gently inserted it through a hole in his shoes.  Then she moved over to the opposite lace and repeated the action.  Joseph studied this intensely and then fell asleep with Lessie keeping him company on his pillow.

The next night was almost the same except Lessie took up one lace, then the other and put them each through opposite holes.  Now Joseph was beginning to understand, but still, it was late when she came to visit and he just couldn’t keep his eyes open long enough to see what else she would do.  And when he awoke, he wondered what was the point to her actions.  After all, he couldn’t walk and didn’t really see the point to putting laces into holes of a shoe.  Lessie sensed that he was not yet comprehending what she was trying to teach him.

These nightly visits continued until Joseph was finally able to stay awake long enough to watch Lessie fully lace both shoes.  Then it dawned on him as she flew around and hummed magically what the lesson was.

The next morning, Joseph lifted himself into his wheelchair.  Lessie sat on the arm and watched him.  He bent down and tied his shoes and smiled at her.  Lessie flew around and around in glee.  She sang ecstatically in wind chime tones and buzzed around his head humming her magical song.  He held out his hand and she alighted in his palm.  Ever so gently, he caressed her glowing wings and it seemed as though she purred.

There was a noise outside Joseph’s door.  His mother entered and seeing him already dressed, in his chair and ready for school bent down to tie his shoes.  She stood straight up, amazement on her face.  The shoes were already laced.  She looked at her son, and a tiny tear ran down her face.

“Joseph, you’ve tied your shoes.  How is that possible?”

“Magic Mama, magic.

Copyright 2012

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