“Lyla you have to go to school!”
“Yes Mom, I know.”
Lyla grabbed her shoes from the rack and slipped them on.
It was the middle of July in Los Angeles, California, and Lyla had summer school.
Her parents sent her to summer school because Lyla did not pay attention in class.
If her teacher was talking about column addition, Lyla would be staring outside and doodling in her notebook about faeries and dragons and witches. If the teacher called her name, Lyla wouldn’t have any idea what to say, because she hadn’t been listening.
Lyla called out, “I’m gonna go now, Mom!”
Lyla slipped on her pink backpack, turned the doorknob, and walked off to school.
Thump thump thump
The sunlight shone on Lyla’s backpack, heating it up while she happily skipped off to summer school. Lyla didn’t care much about school anyway, since she was only in Grade 3. Another reason is that since she didn’t listen to anything at school, Lyla just drew and gazed out the window all day. She didn’t have any friends either, and even if she did, she wouldn’t talk much.
Thump thump thump
Her school came up into sight: Harrowood Elementary School.
As Lyla neared the school, she brought out her trusty sketchbook, which she held onto during the whole day.
“...Oh hi, Lyla. Having a fun time at summer school?”
Hailey, the bully of literally everyone.
Except for her friends, of course.
Hailey and her gang of girls were hanging out at the front doors, ready to taunt anyone that came their way.
“Is little Lyla afraid to talk to the big mean bully?” Hailey teased, breaking out of laughter.
Her friends joined in, the laughing sounding more hesitant.
Lyla kept her head down, not wanting to meet Hailey’s eyes.
She managed to sneak a glance at one of her friends, who stopped giggling and gave her a sympathetic smile.
Lyla just turned around, ignoring the hyena laughter and entered the building.
“Okay class, get out you’re workbooks, we’re gonna learn how to write cursive today!” exclaimed Lyla’s teacher, Ms. Hlana.
Lyla didn’t bother to get anything out but her pencil, because she was going to draw.
“Lyla, where is your workbook?”
“I left it at home.”
Ms. Hlana buried her face in her hands. “You always leave it at home. Remember to bring it tomorrow, okay?”
Lyla nodded her head and opened up to a fresh new page in her sketchbook.
The sketchbook had creme coloured pages with tiny little dots on them. The cover was a muted pink, with some unicorns and rainbows.
Lyla didn’t love unicorns, but it was the only notebook that had special paper, so she bought it.
She stared outside, the bright green grass illuminated by the sun, the blades of grass completely still.
Lyla started drawing.
She was pretty good at it too. She drew the grass lit up by the sun, as it was outside, but added faeries flitting around, gnomes helping to cut the grass, even a tiny rainbow in the background amongst it all.
She was just about to grab her coloured pencils when Ms. Hlana interrupted her.
“Lyla, could you come up to the board and show the class how to write a cursive ‘r’?”
Lyla hadn’t been paying attention, as always, but set down her materials and walked up to the Smartboard.
Ms. Hlana handed her a stylus and gestured her to start.
Lyla twirled the stylus around in her hand, trying to make up a way to make the letter ‘r’ look like cursive.
She wrote an ‘r’ on the board and then added a little swirl at the end.
Lyla looked over to Ms. Hlana, whose brow was furrowed intensely.
“Lyla, were you paying attention earlier?”
Lyla shook her head slowly, looking over the small summer school class that she was a part of.
Ben, who was the class clown but ended up getting all D’s, was drawing a picture on his desk.
Annie, who shouted out way too much, was chewing on a giant eraser.
Ula, who seemed like he had a zipper permanently closed over his mouth, was reading a book named ‘The Three Little Pigs’.
Fran, who loved science but was awful at everything else, was tapping her pencil on her desk with inconsistent rhythm.
Noor, who was apparently a prodigy at the piano but couldn’t do simple addition, was humming a complicated tune loudly.
And Lyla, who never paid attention in class since she was drawing, received a glare from Ms. Hlana.
“Lyla, when will you ever listen?”
Lyla shrugged and pranced back to her seat.
Ms. Hlana sighed.
“Okay class, now we will move on to the letter ‘j’.”
Lyla just continued drawing, adding more and more elements to her drawing until it resembled something out of a picture book.
“It’s time for recess kids! Don’t forget to go out in a single line…”
Kids poured out of the school, the supervisor’s voice getting drowned out until she stopped talking.
Lyla went outside with her sketchbook as normal and walked over to her usual tree.
She settled down in the crevice of a tree root and found the page that she was on before.
Faeries dancing, gnomes cutting, rainbows reaching.
Lyla signed her initials on the bottom right corner: L.B. for Lyla Benett.
Suddenly, the temperature seemed to drop. The blue sky seemed to be tinted with grey, as if a sky giant had just painted grey watercolour over the atmosphere.
Lyla liked that idea.
Everyone in the field stopped playing kickball, tag, or reading their book. It must’ve dropped 20 degrees, making Lyla shiver a bit.
Lyla heard a sound behind her and spun around quickly.
A little faerie was hovering just at her eye level, with ice-blue wings and pale skin. The faerie covered her mouth with her hands and said,” Hee hee.”
Lyla blinked, and the faerie was gone.
At home, Lyla was watching the evening news with her parents while drawing another picture.
“A cold snap seems to have grappled LA with its wind. Earlier today, the temperature dropped 23.7 degrees and is continuing to lower. Looks like it could even get to 30 degrees, so be careful out there.”
The news anchor winked and the screen faded to black. Lyla waited for it to switch to the next program, but when it didn’t, she realized her dad had turned the TV off.
“Come on Lyla, it’s time for bed!” Her dad said, tickling Lyla under her arms.
After a short fit of giggling, Lyla protested, “But it’s only 8!”
“Yes, but now that cold snap is out there to get you, you have to go to bed earlier so it won’t whisk you away to Wonderland,” Dad said, smiling while hoisting Lyla up onto his shoulders.
“Okay Daddy,” Lyla responded while her dad walked her up the stairs.
But when Lyla went to sleep, she had a feeling that the faerie she saw earlier had something to do with the sudden chills.
In the morning, Lyla woke up and was astonished when she looked out her window.
It looked like Wonderland.
Snow was everywhere, with snowman’s already built and kids sledding down huge mounts of snow with their parents. Little snowflakes continued to fall, some sticking to Lyla’s window.
She peered at the new shapes, with their six sharp edges before they melted into nothingness.
Lyla ran down the stairs and jumped into her dad’s arms unexpectedly.
“There’s snow outside! When can I go? Will you com-”
“Wait Lyla, remember, you have school today!” her mom exclaimed from the kitchen, running up to her with her backpack.
Lyla grumbled, wanting to get out in the snow.
“I’ll drive you to school today, there’s almost a foot of snow out there!” said her mom, hurriedly strapping on her boots.
“I’m so excited for recess!” Lyla exclaimed, took her mother’s hand and stepped out into the snow.
“Class, today we were going to practice our cursive, but since there is a lot of snow outside, today’s a snow day!” Ms. Hlana said.
She was probably gonna say more, but everyone was already outside.
Lyla stared at the endless snowflakes that floated down from the sky, little stars that were drifting down from heaven. Her five classmates were completely engrossed in the snow, along with all their siblings that had come too.
Ben was making a snowman with his sister, making so many jokes that she was going to die of laughter.
Annie was running around with her mom and was screaming about how lovely the snow was.
Ula was building an igloo, probably from all the books he had read during class.
Fran was designing a snow house, because that’s just Fran.
Noor was with his brother, both of them talking about how they could compose a piece about snow on the piano.
Even Hailey was there with her friends, looking truly happy.
Lyla turned around, and on a mound of snow was the faerie that she had seen yesterday. The faerie fluttered her wings, and several more faeries flew down from the sky, blending into the snowflakes.
“Oh my god!” Ben said and ran to the faeries.
“Mommy, there’s faeries! Annie shouted, and started scrambling towards Lyla.
Ula looked up, and whispered, “Wow.”
Probably the first time Lyla had heard Ula speak.
Fran, Noor and his brother just walked towards Lyla without saying anything, perhaps trying to get there before everyone else.
Ben was first. A faerie landed on his mittens, making his jaw drop. Everyone else had a similar reaction. The first faerie, the one that Lyla had seen yesterday, perched on Lyla’s finger and said,” Hee hee buzz click hee.”
Lyla didn’t understand what the faerie said, but she got the gist of it.
Looking at her classmates, Lyla was overwhelmed with delight.
And Lyla was with her faerie, filled with happiness and saved the moment, so she could draw it later.