"So, Arya and I were having this little chat around the campfire…”
“What campfire?” I was immediately suspicious.
Arya had just dozed off after a hectic day of fun and frolic, and her dad seemed to be getting into the storyteller mode.
More to the point, we lived in the midst of a bustling metropolis. Campfires don’t casually pop up around here.
“The campfire in the enchanted garden, of course…” He seemed flabbergasted with my question.
“…where she plays with the magical creatures of the forest. Don’t tell me you forgot!"
“OK, here we go again… so what’s the story this time?”
“Not a story. Just a chat, around the campfire… with a big, red balloon and a crazy lantern.”
“Interesting setup, I must say. What did you chat about?”
“About her new fairy friend.”
And there it was... the quick dive into the depths of mystery and magic! I valiantly tried to hold on to a semblance of reality.
“Ummm, by fairy friend you mean a pretty little girl?”
“No, I mean a flying fairy, literally.”
“Now you’re starting to lose me. Can you give a bit of background before launching straight on into the ‘fairy’ tale, so to speak?”
“Well, I chanced upon Arya in the enchanted forest while she was sitting on a tree with a lantern, and enjoying a hearty laugh with someone. That’s when I found out about this friend.”
I was pretty convinced that this magical enchanted garden—where Arya and her dad seemed to be regulars at—had no particular coordinates in reality. I decided to dig a little deeper…
“So there’s where you met her friend?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Huh? You either met her friend or you didn’t. Where’s the ambiguity?”
“Oh, that’s because it’s a semi-invisible friend,” he replied with a perfectly straight face.
And steadfastly continued with the “reasonable” explanation, “She even showed me where to look, but naturally I couldn’t see much.”
“Naturally!?! Of all things in this universe, that’s what strikes you as natural, an invisible friend?”
“Actually, yes. You see, children see magic because they look for it.
We as adults have stopped looking. Naturally, we see less.”
I thought it better not to press the point. I was still intrigued by what discussion they had around the campfire.
“What else did you learn about this fairy friend?”
“Apparently she was one of Santa’s emissaries. The ol’ bearded fellow had sent across some more gifts post-Christmas… A magical shapeshifting lantern that glows of its own accord, and a red, round forever balloon that’s always trying to touch the sky.”
“Suspiciously weird gifts. And I’ve never heard of this post-Christmas gifting tradition!”
“That’s only for kids who are very good, you know.
And these are really mystical messages from the magic realms… reminding us to shine brightly and always fly high, no matter what.”
“I’m sure you have photographic evidence for all these claims, as always?”
“Of course, Arya prettily posed with the gifts from her new friend, and the fairy even zipped around in the air writing Happy New Year with golden dust!”
“So very convenient… Do you reckon we’ll ever get to meet this little lady?”
That was a strong enough hint for a long overdue invitation to the enchanted garden, but Arya’s dad had other ideas, and waxed lyrical…
“Simply follow the threads of your imagination… who knows what magic you will stumble across!”
Foiled again! Anyway, when you cannot beat them, join ’em.
“Well, why not? Here’s to more magic in 2018!”
And for some strange reason, even in her sleep, Arya rolled over and smiled.