I am officially the proud auntie to a young fairy. I’m afraid it’s true. Clara’s “gift” turned out to be a pair of glowing, gossamer wings for little Ethan.
“Oh no.” Belinda let out a groan when the tiny wings first appeared. “What was Clara thinking? This isn’t Asteria! People here will never accept a fairy among them. Ethan will be a freak!”
Ethan’s fluttering wings tickled my arm as I held him close. “So he doesn’t look like all the other kids,” I said, stroking his soft curls. “Some will tease him, yes. Some will treat him like he is invisible. But others will grow to love him just as he is.” This I knew well.
As time passed, Ethan grew into a very happy, and healthy boy. Other than the fact that he could fly, perform magic, and transform into a glowing ball of light, he was exactly like any other little boy. And Belinda was happy, too, with a perfect little family to call her own.
As for me? Well, I stayed busy. I baked a lot. I managed the bakery now, and that came with a lot of responsibility. Many days, I opened the shop at six in the morning, and did not return home until ten o’clock that night.
“You work too much,” said Belinda, noticing how I practically lived in the bakery kitchen, breathing in flour dust. “It isn’t healthy. You should get out there, try new things, go on some dates.”
At her urging, I finally accepted Khaled’s invitation to go out one night. Things went okay at first. But I quickly discovered that Khaled had a tasteless sense of humor, accompanied by language that would make a pirate blush. At first, I tried to ignore it, but after an hour or so, I couldn’t put up with it any longer. “I’m sorry,” I told him as I slipped on my coat. “This is not going to work out.”
I would have slipped back into my workaholic habits had it not been for Reginald. Like Khaled, I met Reginald at church. Unlike Khaled, Reginald was a gentleman, with tasteful humor and a classy wit that I found quite attractive. He listened with awe of my tales of life in Ethiopia, then I listened, enraptured, to his tales of life as an affluent city kid. Our lives had been so different, and yet, we clicked so well.
Then one day, after we’d been dating for nearly two years, he made an unexpected proposal. No, it wasn’t a marriage proposal. “I’ve been offered a chance to go to Ethiopia on a mission with a group of dentists,” he said. “It is only for a few months, to provide dental care to a small village.”
I clapped my hands together. “What a wonderful opportunity!” I said. I was genuinely happy for him, though inside, I was heartbroken. How could I live for four months without seeing him?
Reginald took my hand in his. “Come with me, Tadi,” he said. His eyes pleaded with me. “I did some research, and there is an orphanage in the village which needs a woman like you to be a caretaker. And…I need you, too,” he added.
He wasn’t saying I love you. He was not asking me to be his wife. But he needed me.
I have been pacing around for the past week, trying to decide what to do. I would love to visit my childhood home again, after all these years. But leaving will mean giving up my job, and leaving behind Belinda, and Chris, and little Ethan. On the other hand, staying could mean losing Reginald. What am I to do, Leon? If only I could know whether you are still there in Ethiopia, waiting for me in Zewedu. Then I would not even hesitate to leave behind this life I’ve made here.