It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. I miss them.
This is a little story about a little fairy named Winter, who had a big adventure. Now she’s discovering Christmas.
Winter at Christmas
The cold season had come around again. Snow covered the ground outside, Nutkin was hibernating, and most of Winter’s fairy friends stayed inside the Hollow, keeping warm.
She peered outside, feeling that strange mix of sadness and exhilaration at being the only fairy that could survive the cold for longer than a minute or two. In some ways, she liked this weather best, it gave her a different sort of energy.
She flew out of the opening, and across the garden. It all looked so different covered in white, the shapes and shadows new to navigate. The snow added extra height to the ground. She had to lift herself further up to avoid hitting anything.
She landed neatly on Layla’s windowsill, energy shooting up into her from the snow beneath her feet. Ice crackled along the glass, distorting the view inside. She tapped on it, hoping Layla would hear.
As she waited, her mind drifted back through the year. The Hollow would be celebrating the year end that night, the decorations already up, her friends making the final preparations for the dance and feast. A twinge of something bittersweet found her in those thoughts. This time last year she was an outcast. It was on the day of the festival that her abilities had first emerged, that she had first lost control and frozen part of the Hollow. She had been called dangerous, and she couldn’t disagree – she had been dangerous. But now she was back. Things weren’t the same. She was trying to act as if they were, but she couldn’t forget that they had turned their back on her, left her out in the cold. If it hadn’t been for Layla…
She tried not to think about it. But the sense of betrayal wouldn’t leave her.
The window inched open, and Layla waved her inside her.
Winter flew into the warmth of the house, and Layla closed the window behind her, shutting the snow out.
“Wow!” Winter said, her eyes wide as she looked around. Overnight, the house had changed. Lights covered it, and strange sparkling things, and odd bits of green plants.
“Do you like it?” Layla asked. She looked proud.
“What is it?”
“Oh, right,” her hand went to her mouth. “Sorry, I didn’t you wouldn’t know about Christmas.”
Winter frowned. “Christmas?”
Layla nodded her head to the right. “Come on, I’ll explain.”
Winter followed her through the house and into the living room, where a large green tree, sparkling with lights, sat in the corner. Winter stopped midair. “Why is there a tree in here?”
Layla smiled. “It’s a Christmas tree.”
”I’m confused.” She sank down onto the arm of the sofa, beside where Layla sat.
“Christmas is a celebration we have each year in the winter.” Her smile turned to a frown. “It’s a bit complicated, but it’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.”
“Who’s Jesus Christ?” This was getting more confusing and she couldn’t see what it had to do with a tree in Layla’s living room.
“Jesus was, well,” she frowned again, “maybe I’ll read the story to you later. It will explain much better than I can.”
“Oh. So why is your house all sparkly again?”
“That’s what we do at Christmas. You have a celebration this time of year, don’t you? And you decorate?”
“Yes.” She pictured it in her mind, how it looked in memories of years gone, how it had looked when she’d left the Hollow this morning. “But they aren’t like this.”
“No, but we all celebrate things differently, don’t we? Not all people celebrate Christmas, they celebrate things I don’t. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I think so. All fairies celebrate the same, I think.”
“I suppose people are complicated,” Layla smiled sadly.
Winter sat in silence for a moment, thinking over Layla’s words. Something was niggling at her heart, a feeling that she couldn’t identify. A feeling that made her think of the Hollow, of the other fairies, of how her only real friend was Birch, of the way they looked at each other sometimes. A sad look. Pained. Remembering.
“I think fairies are complicated too,” she said, still trying to work out what her feeling was.
“Are you all right, Winter? You seem subdued.” Layla was looking down at her, worried.
“I just…I suppose I’m thinking about what to do.”
“About the Hollow. Things aren’t…the same since we came back.”
Layla looked sad. “Did you think they were going to be?”
Winter looked up at her, eyes wide. “Why wouldn’t they be?”
“Because things can never stay the same Winter, and because something big happened to you. You were gone from the Hollow for quite a while.”
Winter rubbed her hands through the cloth of her blue skirt. “I just want things to be how they were.”
Layla sighed. “There are times when I wish to go back,” she said, “to some point in the past when things were better, when I was happier. But time doesn’t work that way. Not for humans, or fairies, I’m guessing.”
Sadness settled into Winter’s heart. She looked around at the twinkling lights and wanted to smile and feel happy. But she knew that she was going to have to make a decision, and it would lead to change, and she wasn’t sure if she really wanted that yet. “Can I stay here tonight?” she asked.
“Of course,” Layla said, and suppressed a yawn. She got up off the sofa, took a book from her shelf, and sat down again. “Let me tell you the story of Christmas.”