“Did you remember the cupcakes?” said my best friend Jenny, twirling her braids and chewing her day old gum.
“Yep,” I said, proud of myself for not accidentally-on-purpose forgetting and then gobbling them up like a belly-happy beast.
“And what’d ye tell you mom?”
“That we were looking for four leaf clovers. Same as I always do. What’d ye tell yours?” I kinda knew, but it was what we always asked each other. As if to be sure neither one of us had been forced to reveal even a smidgen of our secret.
“Nothing much. Going outside to play. She isn’t like your mom. She’d probably make me stay inside if I told her we were hunting for—“
“Shhh—someone might hear you!” One could never be too safe.
“Thanks, that was close. Good thing your brother wasn’t around. He’d probably have me in a head lock by now. ‘Say it! Say it, Jenny, or I’ll rip it off….’” Jenny rubbed her neck, her eyebrows peaked over her bright brown eyes. “He’s a bully, that brother of yours.”
“I know. Come on, though. Twilight is comin’ fast and you know we only have a little bit of time before dinner.”
“Our dinner or theirs?”
I giggled, “Ours, silly. Fairies don’t eat like us. They just nibble on forest treats all day long. And anyway, I’m sure they’ve been watching us for the past few minutes. Bet you my favorite purple pen that their stomachs are rumbling right about now. Once a fairy gets a whiff of these cupcakes, they won’t be able to focus on anything else.”
“Ya,” said Jenny with a grin, “I bet you’re right. I know I can’t.”
I giggled right back, “I love you, Jenny. And I love trying to find our real kin together. Not another person in the world I’d wanna do it with.” I reached for her hand and squeezed it good 'en hard.
“You mean you wouldn’t wanna meet your first fairy holdin’ hands with Jon Foster instead?”
I made a barfing noise and within seconds we were a mess on the forest floor, me throwing leaves and Jenny huckin’ acorns, the two of us bursting at the seams.
* * *
Sometimes we come across a magic in our lives, either in our imagination or in our waking world, that changes everything—lightens our heavy. For some of us it’s an afternoon of fairy hunting with a wide-eyed imaginative little friend but it can also be as simple as an idea for a book, or a painting, or a new business. For others it might be a belly-flutter when someone walks by, or a lovely heart-pounding when a certain reminder happens upon our path. But no matter what it is, we must always—always—remember one important thing. We must protect those magics in our lives. We must keep them growing and even thriving. Like a fairy in the wood or a whisper in the breeze, magic can be elusive and if it is not treated with the utmost care, it can slip through our fingers, leaving us once again with a heavy load upon our backs. Protect your magic. Give your magic room to flourish. And share with others only when you no longer need to defend what you know to be true.