That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.

rainbow on window

Now sort of pink, now mauve, now bluish

Her wings were like a rainbow blaze. Her hair was like honey, her skin a soft-burnished gold. She was wearing… a gauzy skirt that seemed to be made of little leaves that kept changing colour, now sort of pink, now mauve, now bluish.

I was so surprised that I almost dropped my flute. I didn’t – wouldn’t that give Mom something to yell at me for if I broke it! – but I did muddle the tune. As soon as the music faltered – just like that, as though the only thing that was keeping her in this world was that tune – she disappeared.

I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to what Meran was saying for the rest of the lesson, but I don’t think she noticed. I couldn’t get the fairie out of my mind. I still can’t. I wish Mom had been there to see her, or stupid old Mr. Allen. They couldn’t say it was just my imagination then!

Of course they probably wouldn’t have been able to see her anyway. That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.

by Charles de Lint (born 22 December 1951)
from Dreams Underfoot: A Newford Collection (2003)
Ghosts of Wind and Shadow
image – u07ch

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