Jessie was BORED.
Ever since she’d finished college, everything was boring! What Jessie WANTED to be doing was drawing, but artists aren’t paid enough to pay the mortgage unless they’re so extremely gifted or so extremely lucky, and Jessie was neither. What she was was lying on the floor of her apartment, miserable. After ten to fifteen minutes, she got up and drank some chocolate milk out of the bottle. After finishing that, Jessie grumped over to her bed and sat, thinking. She had finished her work at six, and she didn’t have anything else to do. She went to her bookshelf, small as it was, desperate for something to do.
Reading wasn’t a priority for Jessie. It was just something she did for work, usually. Doodling was more fun for her. The only book Jessie liked had disappeared after she’d closed it, and then again Jessie was sure that had been a dream.
The bookshelf was barren and dusty due to rare use, and the few titles still there were so old that the covers were falling off.
Jessie read the spines lazily. There were a few classic fairy tales and a few accounting books (Jessie had quit accounting a few months earlier), but one book, hidden behind a few others, caught her eye. It was pure, clean white with a flash of rainbow colors down the middle. The title was ‘Color World’, but the author's name was strangely absent.
Jessie smiled with recognition, picking the book off the shelf and opening the first page.
Tendrils of bright, vivid color sprung from the page. They wrapped around Jessie, almost constricting, but Jessie wasn’t uncomfortable in the slightest. This had happened once before, when she had been only five. This exact book had been on the bookshelf, waiting for her to open it.
The tendrils swirled and curved like a rainbow, twirling and wrapping tight. Suddenly, the colors fell away. Jessie found herself in a field of green grass blanketed in a baby blue sky. Her drab pantsuit had morphed into a colorful dress, rainbow-patterned. Jessie couldn’t remember ever feeling this light.
She ran, cartwheeled and laughed, the smile never leaving her face. Soon she came upon a small pavilion. There were people inside, but they had...wings?!?! They were fairies! There were three of them. They all wore white dresses with rainbow-striped sashes. One, seemingly the leader, noticed Jessie and turned.
“Oh, she’s back! Abbie, Meredith, she’s back!”
The other two turned and smiled wide. The leader cleared her throat and sighed. “You probably don’t remember us, but we’re the Color World fairies, Abbie, Meredith and Lisa. You last came when you were...five? Six?”
“Five,” Jessie interrupted, staring at her feet.
“Ah, yes. You last came when you were five. Abbie, don’t you remember teaching Miss Jessie how to do a backbend?” Lisa smiled when Abbie nodded. “Good times.”
Lisa turned to Jessie. “What would you like to do, dear? Color World is for having fun!”
Jessie looked up. “I can do...anything?”
“Anything you like,” Lisa promised.
Smiling, Jessie said, “I’d like to draw.”
Lisa looked surprised. “Well, that’s easy.” She produced a long rainbow wand with a crystal at its point. With a flick of Lisa’s wand, a chair, desk, drawing pad and colored pencils appeared in the field.
Jessie sat down to work and was about to begin her drawing when she stopped, seeing the fairies’ hung heads and disappointed faces.
Jessie gave a warm smile. “I have an idea,” she said, and the fairies looked up from the ground. “Let’s do a drawing competition!”
The fairies immediately brightened. Lisa conjured three more sets of materials and they hastily got to work. After ten minutes, everyone was done. Meredith’s pineapple was very realistic, but it was no match for Abbie’s doughnut. Lisa drew a very nice china doll, but in the end Jessie’s cat took the cake. Lisa created a silver circlet labeled in rainbow letters ‘DRAWING QUEEN’ and placed it atop Jessie’s head. Jessie had enjoyed this competing and challenged the fairies to baking, rock climbing, and cello-playing competitions. Lisa’s lemon cupcakes were just divine, Abbie was agile and quick on the rocks, and Meredith’s skill with the strings surpassed anybody else’s, so eventually they all wore crowns of one kind or another.
After hours of fun, the four were exhausted. They sat in massage chairs watching the sun set over the pavilion. When Lisa called “Good night,” the massage chairs turned into king-sized beds with fluffy rainbow comforters and unicorn face masks.
In the morning, Jessie woke up to the sound of laughing. The fairies had conjured up what each one really wanted to eat. Lisa had a Belgian waffle with a berry smoothie, Abbie had scrambled eggs and blueberry pancakes, and Meredith...Meredith got a five-tiered chocolate cake. Lisa noticed that Jessie had woken and smiled. “Look who’s awake! I’ll get you some breakfast.”
The fairy flicked her wand and a platter of grilled cheese sandwiches with orange juice appeared on her lap. Jessie smiled and started eating.
Once breakfast was over, the fairies had planned to do a hockey competition, but Meredith was sick with cake. Lisa cleared up the indigestion but Meredith was too full to do anything but moan and throw up. Jessie, Abbie and Lisa played air hockey instead for a while. When they checked on Meredith, she looked significantly rounder but otherwise fine.
They geared up and played hockey, then basketball, then lacrosse. When they got tired again, Jessie remembered that she needed to be home to go to work. She told Lisa but the fairy couldn’t hear her over the hum of the massage chairs. After she finally got the message, Lisa frowned.
“That’s too bad,” she sighed, then brightened. “Can we do one more thing?”
Jessie nodded. “Sure, but make it quick.”
Lisa told the other fairies, who each pouted. They whispered together, and came toward Jessie.
“There’s something we’d like to show you,” Lisa told her. She held out a small rainbow camera, showing Jessie a picture.
It was of the fairies and Jessie, but Jessie had been five years old. Tears sprung to her eyes, but Jessie blinked them away, smiling. Five-year-old Jessie wore a white T-shirt, a rainbow tutu and a big, happy grin. The fairies hadn’t changed a bit either.
“We took this just before you left,” Lisa told Jessie, sad undertones in her usual smile.
“Could we take another one?” Meredith piped up. “Please?”
“Sure,” Jessie agreed and Lisa gave her a reassured look.
They got into position, and with a click, Jessie’s second time with the fairies was saved in the camera forever.
Lisa cleared her throat. “All you have to do is close the book.” The fairy pointed to the pavilion, where a familiar white book lay on a small table.
Jessie’s lips had a faint frown to them as she approached the book. She was going back—back to the boring world that was reality. Back to lying on the floor, drinking a quart of chocolate milk at a time. But Jessie was ready, because she knew that wonderful places like Color World were there when you needed them.
Jessie picked up the book. Smiling and waving to the fairies, she shut it.
Jessie found herself on the floor of her room in front of the bookshelf. She remembered Lisa, Meredith, Abbie and Color World. She smiled, then reached up to her head. A crown sat on her head. At first she thought it was her Drawing Queen one, but as she read the rainbow lettering, she grinned. It read:
COLOR WORLD QUEEN
Thanks for all the fun!
Jessie whispered into the clinking metal of the circlet, giggling a little as she did,