As I lay there in the park taking in the air and listened to the barking of dogs far off in the distance it occurred to me that the dragon roaring across the sky might not be real, but who’s to question such things on a beautiful day? It didn’t seem to bother the pixie beside me. In fact, she laughed and pointed as the dragon passed, and I couldn’t help but be caught up in her joy. It was an infectious laugh that spread over us and blanketed the sky. Clouds caught the sound and echoed it back in a boom that shook the ground beneath us.
Nymphs danced between the trees and their giggles sounded like a sigh as it lifted the leaves from the trees and floated them down onto our blanket. I thought I saw fairies chase the foliage to the ground, but it could have been my imagination. Looking up at the dark sky, I wondered where the time had gone. Quick steps heard in the distance sounded like the hooves of a unicorn and I turned quickly, hoping to catch a glimpse, but it was only a pedestrian hurrying by on the walkway next to us, hiding from the rain under a magazine.
I got up and brushed myself off. It was a long walk home. “Come on, squirt. We have to get moving before it starts to pour,” I said as I folded the blanket.
“Did you see? Did you see the big plane?” Lynn asked, looking up at me with that impish grin. She looked fey with leaves in her hair and it reminded me of something, but I couldn’t recall what.
I took her hand and started walking, her small steps a staccato to my bass plodding. There was almost a memory of something fantastic, something special and wild in the sound, but it was lost in a clap of thunder and streams of rain.
We ran to the café just across the street and shook off the droplets. The woman with the heels and magazine was already there, running her fingers through her hair and attempting to combat the frizz that had already set in. It looked like everyone from the park had stopped there and a community of park people began to emerge out of the rainy day.
We sat at a table and were served hot chocolate by a shy boy in a white apron. I held my hand out for the change, but he blushed and quickly left, dropping the change on the table next to me. I wanted to chase after him and give him a tip, but there was always next time. Lynn was trying to get my attention, and the rain had let up.
Walking home through the park, Lynn ran off ahead of me, laughing as she jumped over puddles. It was in one of the still water pools that I noticed the reflection of an elven princess. Looking behind me, there was no one there but a gnome sitting on a wet stump. His shabby coat was soaked, but his eyes were merry as he sat there staring at something in his hand.
The pixie hurried me on, urging to me to follow as it skipped down the path and I couldn’t recall where we were going. The grass was alive with leprechauns searching for the end of a rainbow that was clearly visible overhead. Silver shone from the green fields as they scampered about looking for more treasures that the passing storm had left behind.
The nymphs had gone back to their tree games, and their laughter brought warmth to all who could hear. The sun shone brightly overhead and steam rose from the path, disturbed by the passing of my small guide. She chased after the leprechauns that were brave enough to come close and picked up the gold they had left behind in their haste, stuffing it in her pockets greedily.
A gate loomed near, and I feared what lay on the other side. It sounded like a lion’s den, a dragon keep, a troll cave, but my guide was not deterred. She bravely stepped out of the glade and into the arena, never once hesitating or looking back. I turned, yearning for the peaceful escape of grassy field when I heard, “Come on, Sara! We’re going to miss the light!”
Remembering my duty, I quickly grabbed Lynn’s hand as we dashed across the street just in time. The light changed and cars roared passed where my foot had just been. The wind whipped my hair around and I longed for the peace of the park as we made our way through the crowded streets.