“Maybe I can’t fly because I’m too big. You guys are all slight and wispy,” said Edith.
“Maybe, but I don’t think that’s it,” said Lilly, kicking her feet as they sat on a branch in the old Oak tree. “I think you can either fly or your can’t.”
“You did well at Court today. I mean we’re alive, so you must have done something right.”
“Thanks,” said Edith. “The Queen’s really nice.”
“I don’t think she knows what a refrigerator is,” snickered Lilly. “She’s probably never been in a kitchen.”
Edith gasped. “I never thought of that!”
“Well, she liked your drawing, that’s for sure. And I didn’t hang up your picture to make you feel better,” said Lilly. “I hung it up because I like it and you that’s the truth because fairies can’t lie.”
“Seriously? They can’t lie?” said Edith in amazement. “How can you possibly manage?”
“We manipulate words, Love, that’s how we manage. We say things in a way that no one knows exactly what we mean. We also twist things so that others think they know what we mean, when they don’t. It’s not a good way to communicate but life can be vicious and we never truly know who we can trust.”
“I get it,” said Edith. “It’s like if someone asks you if you like her dress and you don’t but you know she loves what she’s wearing, so you say the dress looks great on her. That way the other person feels good about herself and you didn’t have to tell her that the dress isn’t something you would buy for yourself, right? Humans lie all the time time and I know life can be nasty, believe me. Lois Harken had her lunch stolen every day by Brad Digger. He was so awful. People who lie think everyone lies so they don’t even recognize the truth when it’s right in front of them. I don’t know why it has to be that way but never being able to lie must be difficult.”
“It’s all what you’re used to, Love. Fairies don’t know how to live any other way. All of us are what we are taught to be.”
“I guess,” said Edith, thoughtfully.
“We accept what we are used to and that’s never a good thing. Acceptance stops us from thinking for ourselves.”
“I don ‘t want to live with Buttercup. I want to stay here with you and that’s the truth.”
“You’ll have to talk to your mother about that.”
“Why? You told the Queen that you would be responsible for half of me.”
“I did, didn’t I,” said Lilly, remembering Edith telling the Queen that she wasn’t half of a child but a whole one.
“So I want to stay with you, at least the half you’re responsible for. Can I get a cat?”
“I had a cat named Geraldine, and I miss her a lot. It was so hard to leave her behind,” said Edith, sniffing loudly. “She was black and white with a pink nose and the softest paws ever.”
“I like cats too. Maybe we can work something out.”
Edith threw her arm around Lilly’s shoulder. “I’d hug you with both arms but I’m afraid I’ll fall out of the tree.”
“I understand,” said Lilly, looking down.
“Why do you think my mother didn’t love me? I don’t care, not really, I’m just curious. My teacher, Mr. Bender, said that I was curious to a fault but I don’t believe that’s even possible and I told him that, so he wouldn’t let me go out for recess, which was fine because I got to stay in and draw.”
“That was a long sentence.”
“I know but why didn’t she love me?”
“She loves you very much.”
“I don’t think so. And if she does, that kind of love doesn’t count. It’s more imaginary, or just an idea, rather than a true feeling. You don’t give those you love to mean people. At least, not where I come from.”
“You come from her, Love.”
“I want to find the other Edith and tell her the truth. I want her parents to finally meet their real daughter.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea for anyone.”
“Why not? Her mother didn’t give her away. That Edith was stolen.”
“Steven lived with human parents until he was eleven. He ran away, just as you did.”
“Does he know his real parents?”
“He knows his father. His mother was trapped and killed by humans, while she was watching him play in a park. She always kept an eye on him, even though she knew it was an extremely dangerous thing to do.”
“So, she loved him.”
“I’m so sorry that happened.”
“We all are, Love,” sighed Lilly.
“Why do humans and fairies hate each other so much?”
“I will answer all of your questions but it’s time for the feast, so may we postpone that discussion until later?”
“Yes, of course,” said Edith immediately. “We’re going to a feast?”
“We’re going to a feast for you, Love. A feast to celebrate the homecoming of a child who found her way back.”