You walk out to your car. You neighbors -specifically nosy Mrs. Gilber- stare as usual while you hop in and start it, since it was lime-green and electric. You drive to the post office, singing a slightly off-key to the radio. You get out of your car. You walk into the post office, still humming to the song just playing on the radio.
You smile at everyone, especially the grumps. You wave at acquaintances. You stand in line, tapping your foot. You’re trying to be patient, but it’s taking sooo long. You move forward an inch, inwardly groaning.
Eventually, after years and years (but in reality about 7 minutes), you get to the front of the line. You send out your packages and thank you notes, then walk away. When you’re about halfway to your car, it occurs to you to check your P.O. box.
You sigh, walking back to the post office while digging through your bag. You can’t find your key, and wonder if you left it at home. You hope not, but expect that you did, since now you had a cute little house in a nice little neighborhood with a pretty little mailbox. Still, you try to check your P.O. box, just in case not everyone got the memo.
You drive back home, and dig through your drawers and cabinets. You finally find your key at the bottom of your coffee table along with several potential dates’ numbers. In other words, the place where-things-go-to-be-exiled.
You walk back out to your car, hoping this was the last trip you would have to make. When you get back to the post office, you struggle with the key for a moment before tugging the small door open. Inside, to your relief and surprise, sits a letter with a red wax seal. The design of the seal was familiar, although you can’t place it.
An employee whose name tag says Josh, notices you and asks for your name. It’s Kristin, you tell him. He replies that there was a special package in the back, too large to fit in the box.
Josh leaves to get the package for you. You wonder who it could be from. You didn’t know many people, and the ones you did knew you had moved. You flip the letter over in your hands. It’s from someone called Elysia Frielldon. You want to open it but decide to stick to your routine, or at least try to. Days and months and numbers don’t mean anything if you didn’t give them reason. You open your mail from each day after dinner, which you hadn’t had yet. Your mouth waters at the thought of food.
Josh returns, interrupting your daydream. He passes you a tall and thin package, and you wobble under the sudden weight. Josh apologizes profusely, taking the package back. He offers to help you out to your car. You smile and thank him.
Together you walk out to your lime green car. When he sees it, he laughs. Not in a mean way, but in the sort of way that makes you want to laugh along.
You ask him if he hates it. He doesn’t. You grin and tell him he’s the first person, including yourself. He asks why you bought it if you hate it. You reply that you don’t.
He stares at you, then laughs. You invite him over for dinner, and then you immediately regret it, since you last vacuumed a week ago. It’s too late though, since he already accepted.
As you drive home, you are able to see Josh still standing outside the post office, watching you drive away. You smile to yourself, then frown. You had some cleaning to do. On your way inside, you checked on your ordinary mailbox. Inside were bills and a letter from your grandfather. You sighed. You were going to have to write him back, sometime later on.
You flip through your mail, trying to gauge how much money you needed to scrape together.
Suddenly, you stop in your tracks. The seal on the mystery letter changed. Where it was red before, now it was blue. You stare at it, then notice your neighbors staring, so you move to stare at it inside instead. You look away for a moment, throwing your keys and wallet on the counter.
When you turn back, the seal is bright green. Chartreuse, really. You tap it, wondering if it’s just some trick of the light, but at your touch the seal sparkles and turns purple. You shake your head, and return to the original plan of happening after dinner.
After an hour of housecleaning, the doorbell rings and you remember again about Josh and dinner. You answer, apologizing that dinner isn’t ready. You tell him about your cleaning, and how you lost track of time. You start blushing, but catch his grin before turning away to lead him inside. You offer him a seat before running around the kitchen like a crazy person, trying to gather ingredients for a decent meal.
“So,” Josh says. “Do you like to cook?”
You face him, raising an eyebrow. “No.”
“Then don’t. Let’s pick McDonald’s or something.”
You grin at him and grab your keys. “If you insist.”
You walk to the doorway. Josh following, his grin matching your own. You both climb into your car, and you ask if he prefers McDonald’s or something. Quite seriously he replies that something is always good, but that McDonald’s is as wonderfully addicting as Netflix, as long as you don’t binge-eat.
This makes you laugh, and your good mood continues until he brings up the letter you received earlier. You frown, then explain to him what had happened to the seal. He frowns as well, then gets impossibly excited.
“Can I open it with you?” he asks. You say yes, since he already knew about it. He smiles, then asks an even more awkward question: Was this a date?
You don’t answer, which he decides to take as a yes. “Wonderful,” he says. Your mouth doesn’t move, torn between a smile and a frown. You clearly hadn’t thought this through. It would be fine, he seemed nice enough, and eager to help you with the letter. It would be your first date in months, no, years. 2 years and 34 days, to be exact.
You quickly pray to whatever god listening that this goes okay. After last time, you really just hope that nothing explodes. Josh was kinda cute, handsome even. You keep looking straight ahead, determined to not get attached. Not yet, anyway.
You pull through the McDonalds, ordering a quarter pounder for you and a Big Mac for Josh. He insists on going straight back to your house, so you could open the letter. You comply, since arguing wasn’t what you wanted to do right now. You drive back home again, clenching your teeth slightly from the sound of Josh chewing.
“Do you have to chew so loudly?” you ask, breaking the silence inside the car.
“Maybe.” Josh replies. “Are you always so quiet?”
“I don’t have many people to talk to.” you say.
Josh frowns. “Well, then I suppose I’ll have to bother you a lot. So you have someone to talk to.” He doesn’t give you time to respond before he changes the subject. “What do you think the letter says? Do you know who it’s from?”
“The letter is from Elysia Frielldon.” you reply, decided to go along with it. Like earlier, you didn’t want to argue. “And no, I don’t know who she is or why she’s writing to me or have any idea what’s in the package, okay?”
“Okay, okay.” Josh is looking at you now. Self-consciously you let your dark hair fall in front of your face, hiding it from his view. “Push your hair back, Kristin. Don’t hide your prettiness.”
In front of you is a red light. You slam on the brakes. You do push your hair back, but only to show that you’re upset. Your last date had said that too, and he turned out to be an idiot. You take a deep breath, but refuse to let your anger drift away. You hold onto it, since it’s the only emotion that’s easy to understand.
“Relax, please.. I really do think that you’re pretty, and I promise I’m not a psychopath.”
You take another this time letting some of the fury go. “Fine.”
Soon, you’re back home, unlocking the door and leading Josh inside. You sit across from Josh, wolfing down your burger while he studies the letter’s seal. Currently it was electric orange. You tell Josh that the seal’s design, a distorted diving eagle, didn’t change, only the color.
He nods in confusion. You tap the seal again, and it returns to the sparkly purple. Throwing away your trash, you explain to him that the same thing happened earlier when you touched it.
“Well, I suppose you should open it,” Josh says, handing you the letter. The seal is back to its original red, but as soon as you touch it to open it, it turns sparkly purple. Once you actually break the seal, a tiny firework goes off inside your house. You shriek, and Josh grabs your arm. You cling to him as well, worried at what you might find.
Inside is a yellowed, decrepit, folded up piece of paper. Very, very carefully you unfold the piece of paper. Little yellow flakes tumble off, and Josh sneezes, spreading the flakes everywhere. Now you would have to vacuum again. You glare at him, but he only shrugs and says, “Allergies.” You roll your eyes.
On the flaky letter, is beautiful, scrawling handwriting. It appears quite old-fashioned and is a little difficult to read. It says:
You are a fairy.
This may be hard to believe, but is true. I wish you luck. Inside the package are some gifts similar to what I used when I first discovered the magical realms. It should help you on your path of magic.
I’m sorry to thrust this upon you, but it is much better than learning through a goblin attack and kidnapping, as I did. Write back if you need help. I’m sure you’ll know how.
You exchange a glance with Josh. This wasn’t what you were expecting, although you aren’t what you were expecting. Josh keeps staring at you, like somehow you had changed drastically. You look up an down yourself and seeing nothing different, you turn away to open the package, despite the pit of fear rapidly growing in your stomach.
You stand up to get a pair of scissors, which you use (obviously) to cut through the brown paper covering whatever was inside. You pull the paper back to reveal an antique, full-body, brass mirror, a journal nearly as decrepit as the letter, and a feather pen with swirling rainbow ink.
You and Josh look into the mirror, trying to spot any imperfections or differences. Instead, you fall into it, your vision turning black.
When you’re able to see again, a woman with floating blonde hair and a man with haunting purple eyes are standing over you. You notice Josh lying nearby, groaning.
“Welcome to the Land of Dancing Lights.”
-To Be Continued-