Saturday in the Garden
Victoria took a deep breath of the Saturday air as Mary found the best spot at Regent’s Park. Her sailor collar flapped in the wind as she passed by parades of people sitting on benches on that sunny day with their prams and canes, straw hats and sandshoes.
Mother carried on with Mary’s Mother as Nanny brought the food back home. Victoria looked behind as the two of them shrunk on the path, absorbing themselves in gossip from Tottenham Court Road.
“Victoria! Over here!”
The young girls sat together on the grassy lawn, far enough for their parents not to care about the grass staining their skirts.
“Have you ever been to the zoo here, Victoria?”
Mary turned towards Victoria as she stared out over the plains of the park.
“Not for a long time. We went to visit there on a holiday some time ago. Quite a while ago, to be honest.”
Victoria turned towards her bright-eyed friend as she got up, taking Victoria’s hand along with her.
“Then let’s go! Mother gave me enough money for both of us!”
“Hey! You don’t need to pull me that hard!”
The two girls raced further down the grassy lawn towards the zoo. Smells of manure and hay overcame their nostrils until the odors mixed in with the smoky air. They heard the sounds of awe and murmurs as they paid the fee at the gate.
“Which one shall we see first? Victoria, we must go see the lions! They’re my favorite! The boys have these massive fur coats on their heads and the girls look so pretty!”
Victoria just followed along, as Mary got every fact wrong about each animal they saw:
“The gorillas have such big arms because they walk on them all of the time!”
“Those leopards have spots on them because their Mother painted them on at birth!”
“The elephants actually are small when younger because their appetites only grow when they reach a certain size!”
They ran from cage to cage as Victoria stared in awe at the animals. Only after they settled by the flamingo lagoon did they stop to rest.
Victoria asked while looking out onto the lagoon, the shimmering water reflecting the blue sky above.
“Have you ever thought about leaving to see those animals outside of their cages?”
Mary looked at Victoria as they stood close together.
“Like opening the cages here?”
“No, silly. Like going to Africa, or Aisa.”
Mary paused with her mouth open, closing it for a moment to think of an answer.
“No, actually. Mother always taught me that I should stay in the place most comfortable for my future. London always seemed the best for that. Why do you ask? Have you thought of that, Victoria?”
She continued to stare out onto the water, the pink long-legged birds calling to each other.
“Yes. I have thought about it... Maybe you’re right. But I always thought that I could make someplace new feel like London. All I’ll need are some things to remember this place by and I’d be a traveler.”
“But what about a husband? Marriage? Don’t you want that too?”
Their conversation got so philosophical that they could barely finish sentences without drifting off. Only when marriage was brought up did their minds begin to race again.
“I cannot wait to get married, Victoria. I’ve planned out my dress and everything. The man of my dreams would run out of a car on a winter evening, kneel in front of me and propose. I’d say yes and we’d get married that Spring under a canopy of roses.”
“Mine would propose in the Summer. We’d travel around London, seeing the best plays and strolling down Picadilly any chance we’d get. We’d visit the museums and the art galleries of the West End, eat at the finest bakeries and watch the sunset. Then in the Fall, we'd get betrothed under orange, red and yellow leaves entwined with scarlet maple.”
Mary swooned as Victoria spoke, leaning her head against her arms on the railing.
“Sounds like you’ve planned it, too.”
“So why leave?”
They both watched the water ripple under the flamingoes feet until their Mothers found them.
“Tinker Bell, what are we doing here?!”
Peter’s voice went from impatient to angry as the world below the stage lights filled with grown-ups.
“Peter, shush! The fewer people see us now, the more likely we’ll get to be a part of this play!”
“Why do I want to be a part of this play?”
“Not you, idiotic fool! Me! I just needed you to come with me.”
Peter crossed his arms.
“So you took me away from the lost boys to be in a stupid play?”
Tinker bell watched the stage from between lights in the ceiling. Big words spelled “The Fairy Garden” across the curtains.
“They kept growing up anyway, Peter. Whenever you mentioned killing more pirates, they’d refuse.”
“That’s not true.”
Tinker Bell flew directly to Peter’s face as she turned red all across her body.
“Yes, it is!”
Peter’s eyes narrowed, the freckles on his face gathering together like an army.
“No, it isn’t, you silly fairy!”
“They dropped dead like flies, you-”
Some people in the stands that night swore they heard bells ringing loudly.
Suddenly the open house music decreased in sound and started to play the show’s medley.
“Tink, what’s going on down there?”
“I think the play is starting!”
The curtains began to open. Tinker Bell watched a tiny light strobe around the stage, moving around rather quickly.
“That’s my cue!”
Tink zoomed out of their hiding place, to Peter’s protest. She didn’t know where to go but rather went inside the spotlight. Fairy’s eyes don’t need to squint from the light, so she stood there waiting for the light to move.
Peter snuck an eye through the opening in the ceiling. “What is she doing?” He couldn’t see her through the spotlight, so he frantically scanned the stage for a glowing, flying fairy.
The stage opened to a quaint looking kitchen overlooking the garden. Sunlight shone through windows with the opposite wall facing the stage. Still, spotlights shone on the two ends of the production, waiting for an actor to carry it with them.
“I say, Francine! The world is filled with enough problems, yet you deal with the silly nonsense of fairies in gardens!”
Peter did a double-take towards the skinny blue-eyed man on stage, with a frantic young woman running behind.
“But you heard Patricia! She’s seen it, my dear! Her children have seen the garden along with her! Oh, my dearest James, we must go see what she’s seen if we want to stay the talk of the town!”
Peter’s eyebrow flicked upwards at the grown-ups acting like children.
“No! I forbid it!” The man stomped to the other side of the stage, the spotlight following him. Tinker Bell immediately leaped into the air and flew inside the light.
“We must not look too silly in public! What will the other bankers think?!”
Right when Tinker Bell caught up, the man paced again, sending her back towards the moving spotlight.
“They’ll think I’m a fool! A charlatan! They’ll laugh at me!”
He now paced back and forth at such speeds that the audience laughed at his antics. Meanwhile, Tinker Bell slowed down considerably, exposing herself to the dark of the stage.
“Besides, fairies aren’t something you just see every day!”
The crowd immediately began to roar with laughter. The actor, however, had no idea what was happening as he glanced across the audience. Only when he looked down at the light underfoot did he get the joke.
Peter giggled along with the audience before the crowd died down again.
“Right! You don’t usually see fairies every day, Francine! But, I! Oh, I still do not believe in fairies!”
Peter’s smile dropped as Tinker Bell fluttered to the ground in a panic. The little light surrounded Tink, hiding her figure within.
The man grabbed a knife from the table and pointed it towards the flashlight's circle.
“I’ll just need to take care of this one, and they won’t bring us to dinner.”
Tinker Bell tried to crawl away on all fours, but she succumbed to the weakness of belief!
“GET AWAY FROM HER, YOU CRETIN!”
Out of the ceiling dived the boy who never grew up, landing atop of his fairy friend and sheathing his sword. The audience stared with shock and awe as he gathered her in his hands.
“How dare you say that! Do you know that every time someone says that, a fairy drops dead?! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!”
Peter began to sniffle. Tears welled up in his eyes, as people began to appreciate the boys beautiful "acting".
“Because of you, she falls faint! If her light goes out, she dies!-”
Tink whispered a ringing-like sound into Peter’s ear. The audience, filled with such awe and excitement, began to murmur to each other as napkins dabbed at their eyes.
“I need people to believe in me. That man’s disbelief hurt me. If they believe in fairies, maybe they’ll save me.”
Peter breathed frequently as the sobs reached his throat.
"You want me to get them to believe in fairies?!”
“Yes, Peter. If they believe in me, in us, that will heal me. You must try it.”
Peter glanced back at the audience, silently watching him stand up and walk towards the stage.
“Her light is growing faint! If it goes out, she will die! But, if I can get you to believe in fairies again, even though you may be grown-ups, she could come back to life. Please, say that you believe!"
The audience fell silent. After realizing that his soliloquy had finished, some people applauded his wonderous acting.
That gave him an idea.
"If you believe in fairies, clap your hands!"
Their claps began slowly. All at once the crowd stood up in an ovation.
"Yes! Yes! Don't let her die! Keep clapping your-"
Before Peter could continue, Tink began to glow in his hands, like the clapping was reviving her.
“Yes! She isn’t dying! Please, keep clapping!”
The audience kept applauding. Even the stragglers joined in.
“If you believe in fairies, clap! Don’t let Tinker Bell die!”
His hands glowed like he had caught a million fireflies. As he sniffed away the tears, he happily launched his old friend into the air, to the audience's delight!
As she fluttered around the room, narrowing towards her closest friend, she whispered in his ear,
"Let's go home. This play was boring anyway."
The crowd's cheering stopped abruptly as the little boy jumped off of the ground and soared off into the night sky.
A million fairies woke up that night, to the delight of their families, neighbors and close friends. The celebration lasted longer than ever before, and when Queen Mabs realized the jump in numbers, she knew exactly who to call.
The one who fixes things... Tinker Bell.