Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A friend for Christmas

Annabelle dressed in her favourite tartan skirt, which she borrowed from a girl who didn’t like the clothes her doll owned. The skirt came with a cropped black top and a black fake leather belt. Annabelle had to repair it to work properly since doll clothes are not usually made right for an active fairy. The doll now had a proper pale pastel gossamer fairy gown and Annabelle had clothes she liked.
Annabelle wore a pair of supple leather boots. She had found them in Cadou’s antique store. After repairing a music box the shopkeeper despaired over, she took the boots as payment. They were perfect but heavy to fly in. Annabelle didn’t care, it was so difficult to get boots in her size that were not plastic.
The other fairies were horrified. Not that she wore boots but that she had worked for them and taken a payment. It was not a fairy thing to do and they admonished her for exposing her existence to a human.
“Maybe I’m a pixie then and no one saw me okay!” Annabelle yelled, with her hands on her hips and her chin jutting forward. The other fairies had backed away from her, they just didn’t understand and were a little afraid of such a loud and assertive fairy.
Annabelle was lonely. She was not into flowers and pastel was so not her. She needed to find a friend who would accept her for herself. She flew to the city.
She perched on a ceiling beam at the antique store and watched Mr Cadou slowly polishing silver ware. His shoulders bent and he sighed repeatedly. Not much polishing happened.  The ancient telephone rang.
A girl walked in from the back of the shop.  Annabelle watched her set up a chess set in the corner then tug at Mr Cadou’s sleeve. He turned to his daughter and covered the mouthpiece of the telephone.
“I cannot play with you my darling I have too many repairs to do.” He returned to his call.
Mrs Cadou leaned through the doorway from the back. She had a large washing basket on her hip.
“Grace, please peel the vegetables for dinner. I have to deliver this basket of washing and pick up the other baskets on the way home.” Mrs Cadou footsteps moved down the hallway.
Grace moved a chess piece.
 “You have my doll’s clothes on.” Her voice was soft and she kept her eyes on the board.
“I swapped you for the other one.” The girl nodded.
“I like those boots. You took them from the store.”
“I fixed the music box, these are my pay.”
“Papa had no idea how that fixed itself.” She was panting a little. “People won’t buy things if they don’t work and Papa has lots of things that don’t work.” She glanced around the dim and dusty store. “I don’t want to leave and we have to leave if no one buys anything.” Her eyes shone bright and she looked up. “Will you help me?” Annabelle was unable to move while Grace stared at her. “You can have all my doll clothes and stay in the doll house if you want to. I promise not to tell anyone I’ve seen you. Can you play chess?”
Annabelle shook her head.
“Would you like me to teach you?”
Annabelle nodded.
“That skirt looks good on you.”
Annabelle smiled.
 “Who are you talking to my darling?”
Annabelle hid behind the art deco vase.
“The Christmas Fairy Papa, I’m making wishes.” Grace moved in front of the vase just in case.
“Aren’t you a little old for fairy tales?”
“Never too old for fairy tales, Papa.”
“That’s true, while you are on speaking terms with the Christmas fairy can you ask her or him to help you dust this old shop and give it some appeal?” he chuckled then reached for the telephone as it rang again. “Grace I have to go out and pick up an item can you please watch the store until I return.”
“Yes Papa.” Grace handed her father his car keys and wallet and waved as he drove off down the street then turned to Annabelle. “I’m Grace.”
“I’m Annabelle, let’s tidy up the place and decorate while he’s gone.”
“What do we need?” Annabelle gave Grace a list and sprinkled a little fairy dust on each item and set it to work polishing and scrubbing. Grace watched in fascination.
“You could do the vegetables while this goes on.” Grace smiled and left for the kitchen while Annabelle climbed inside an old grandfather clock. Twenty minutes later the clock let out a deep ‘clong’ and began to tick. Grace came running, wiping her hands on a too big apron.
 “Listen to that. It sure was stuck. Want to decorate now? It’s almost Christmas.”
Grace found a box of antique decorations. Annabelle flew up around the ceiling beams and attached elegant shimmering bunting. She frosted the now gleaming windows with a little magic. The shop smelled of wood polish and beeswax.
“Pity we don’t have a tree.”
The doorbell tinkled and a pine tree walked through the door.
“I had a little extra from selling the music box and wanted to surprise …” Mr Cadou’s tree muffled voice stopped as he looked around the store.  “How did..?”
“Let’s put the tree in the window.”
“Oh yes, let’s do that.”  His head swivelled this way and that.
Mrs Cadou cried with joy when she saw the shop and took a turn at hanging antique things on the tree with her husband and daughter.
Tucked up in her bed that night, Grace called softly. “Thank you for your help Annabelle. I have never seen my parents so happy. I like having you for a friend.”
Annabelle was tucked up in the biggest bed in the doll house. “I like you for a friend too Grace.” Annabelle looked at the clothes hanging in her room and grinned. “This is going to be fun.”

Merry Christmas.