by Lovina 🐕🦺
This one is for my very special niece
|They say she is autistic. Their words whispered and shameful, thinking she could not hear them. But, she did. Though, she did not understand what, exactly, their words meant, she knew those words were not nice. She knew that she was different, not like everyone else. Some days were hard, painful even, but on other days, like today, it felt good to be unique. These were the days she felt sorry for them, not for herself.
Playing in the woods behind her house, a forbidden place, a dangerous place for someone like her. Someone not capable of taking care of themselves. Leastways, that is what they were always telling her. But, today was a good day, today she escaped the watchful eyes of her mother and she was free. Free to wander in the forbidden forest.
She was not alone though. She was never alone. She always had her best friend with her. Annie, the perfect friend, always there when you needed her, ready for an adventure, and never mean. Annie would never utter a hurtful word to her or about her.
Twigs and leaves crunched under her feet as she and Annie wandered among the trees. Looking up they could see the light sparkling through the branches, shining on everything in its path. Arms outspread; they giggled and spun their way through the magical forest. Trees alive and whispering, small animals chattering and gossiping, all the colors bright and infused with magic, the two friends were enchanted by the wonder surrounding them.
As the sunlight dwindled, the forest gone to shadow, faeries appeared. Faerie lights flashing their secrets to one another as they danced around the two girls. The joyous laughter of the two friends echoed through the forest as they chased the bobbing and twirling supernatural creatures. Cricket music chimed in to harmonize with the laughter, filling their ears with beautiful sounds. The soft summer wind played with their hair as they danced with the faeries.
So engrossed in her unfettered fun, she did not see the little man until she tripped over him. As she lay sprawled on the soft cushion of the magical forest she looked up to see a little man dressed in green. He struggled desperately with a pot almost the same size as him. "Of course he can't move such a large object by himself", she said to Annie, "it must be very heavy for such a little person".
Annie helped her to her feet and together they rushed to help the undersized man with his oversized burden. A strange little man, he never uttered a sound as the girls relieved him of his heavy load. She decided to call him Mr. Green. After all, everyone must have a name; how else are you going to talk to someone? Mr. Green motioned for them to follow, not too far, only a few steps, then he motioned for them to deposit the pot in a hollow at the base of a wise old tree.
After they set their load in the designated spot the girls caught sight of the contents. The last of the sun sparkled off the coins, shiny and round, the gold of the coin reflected in their eyes. A pot of gold, riches beyond comprehension, abundant bounty translated to happiness in a pot. The girls knelt next to the hollow and stuffed their hands into Mr. Green's pot of gold. Laughing heartily they grabbed handfuls of coin, raised their hands high into the air, and allowed the shiny metal objects to fall noisily back into the pot.
Mr. Green laughed, high pitched happy laughter, as he watched the girls play with his gold. She picked up a handful of coin and poured it over Annie's head. The ground turned gold as the shiny metal pieces fell, rolling each to its own specific destination. The setting sun shone its beautiful colors upon the three joyous creatures, sparkling happy dyes of many joyous shades and hues.
Suddenly the crickets stopped playing their instruments. The animals ceased talking, instead, running and diving for cover. When the girls looked around they realized that Mr. Green had vanished. Worried and confused, she stood from her place by the tree. The faeries had also taken flight, their comforting lights gone, back into the magical kingdom from which they had sprung.
"Jennifer!" The strangeness of her Mother's voice startled her in this once magical place. "Thank god, I found you! You know better than to play in the woods, it's too dangerous for you!" Her protector, guardian and jailer, reached down and snatched Annie from the ground. "Jen, you got your doll all dirty. Oh, it's Okay, don't be upset, we will clean her up. Then you will see. She will be good as new".
Jennifer knelt to retrieve her pot of gold from the hollow by the tree, only to find it empty. She stared into the small, yellow, plastic pail. The magic had left once again. She was back to being Jennifer, autistic, unfulfilled, as empty as her little pail. Heaving a sigh, she picked up her pail, took her doll from her mother and gently placed Annie in the pail where she belonged. Her best friend ready and waiting for their next adventure.
She smiled as she took her mother's hand as a pail filled with a doll swung from her other hand. Some days it was great to be her, especially if that meant you got to dance with faeries and play with a pot of gold. And, Jennifer knew in her heart, the magical kingdom would be there, waiting for her return, however long it took.