“If you believe it, you can see it,” she said.
“I can’t. I wish I could,” I told her as I bit my lower lip. Alas, I wasn’t an imaginative child—the other children often said so.
In their bouts of play pretend, I often failed to conjure the monstrous fire-breathing dragon, the majestic crystal castle in the sky, or the magical ruby that could make me fly. I would hear my friends squeal and laugh as they went on great adventures in the glade—taking a back seat with reality as my ordinary world remained as lackluster as it always was. Oh how I wished, that just for a moment, I could step into a realm of wonder and awe.
“Do you believe?” she asked.
“I want to,” I said. “I’ve tried. But… I just can’t see it.”
She reached for my hand with a beaming smile—a smile my mind often drew across her small face—and replied, “Just listen, do you hear them?”
I strained my ears. “What am I listening for?”
“Just listen,” she stated.
The autumn leaves rustled in the afternoon breeze, the shouts of my friends filled the air as they beckoned each other to defeat the army of villainous fairies, and the gentle whisper that was her voice.
“Now,” she added. “Feel them.”
I titled my face toward the sky. The warmth of the sun settled on my skin, the breath of wind brushed through my hair, and the comforting touch of her hand upon mine—for a moment, I didn’t feel alone.
“Do I smell next?” I guessed—it seemed to be some sort of a game, and I didn’t mind it.
“Yes. Do you smell the roses?” she asked with excitement in her voice.
I chuckled and shook my head. “We don’t have roses here.”
The orphanage was sequestered in the embrace of nature. And though the caretakers had a garden of wild vegetables and flowering plants, there were no roses as they were delicate and difficult to grow.
“I smell them,” she stated. “Do you smell them?”
“I…” It took me a second before I played along. “How do they smell?”
“It doesn’t matter how they smell. Just smell them,” she said as a matter of fact-ly.
“All right,” I replied—a hint of sweetness like a jar of candy, a bit of orange peel after an orange has been peeled, and a little perfume like that of a fresh bar of soap. “Okay, I smell them. But I’m not sure if I’m right. I’ve never smelled roses before.”
“Do they smell good?” she asked.
“They smell…” I laughed. “They smell strange, but in a good way.” I nodded my head.
“My roses smell like peppermint and a new book,” she stated confidently, as though that was the scent of real roses.
“Mine smells like soap and candy,” I said with a shrug.
“Your roses smell good,” she replied. “Now…”
“What’s next?” I prompted, wondering where our little game was headed.
“Now… open your eyes.”
I frowned. “What do you mean?”
She knew, just like everyone else, that I couldn’t open my eyes. And even if I could, I would see nothing—I had lost my sight at a young age, and my only perspective of the world was that of a six-year-old’s memory.
“Just like the roses, silly,” she said. “Open your eyes!”
Ah, so that was what she meant. “All right,” I said. “But what am I supposed to see?”
“You tell me—what does today look like?”
That day was a good day. “The sun is bright and round, it’s not hot as usual with the cool breeze, and you’re here… telling me to open my eyes.” I chuckled.
“What colour is the sky? How big are the trees?” she prompted.
“The sky is a bit of blue, a bit of purple, and a bit of pink,” I said. “The trees are big and small—some as small as my toes and some as big as… a troll.”
“A troll,” she said with a gasps. “Guys, there’s a troll!” she shouted to our friends.
I heard my friends running toward us—questions of where the troll was and if it was sent by the maleficent fairy queen intruded our little moment. But before she said a word, she tugged me to my feet.
“Tell them,” she prompted. “Tell them about the troll.”
The world beyond quieted as my friends eagerly waited on me. “The troll…” I hesitated.
Did I really see one? Was it among the trees? There was a colossal tree that looked particularly odd—the thick branches were like giant arms and the stump was like a massive eight-toed foot.
“There!” I pointed ahead. I didn’t know if there was the neighbouring forest, but I saw it… there. “It’s hiding in the trees. But it only has one foot, so all we need is a little magic.”
“We have magic!” one of my friends exclaimed.
And just like that, I felt her hand pull me forward into a run. “You see,” she shouted as we headed toward the troll. “All you needed to do… was believe.”
Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.
(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)