Let’s talk about the fairy godmother, before. At this point, she is just a woman, still relatively young, approaching her life’s precipice, fairy-status undiscovered, role of godmother yet realized. It doesn’t matter how all that will come to be, only that right now she works at a diner, spends the day penciling people’s orders on a notepad and running back and forth from the kitchen to her tables, carrying plates of eggs and buttered toast, a practiced smile on her face. On her breaks, she smokes outside on the picnic table by the road, or calls her children, who are with her ex-husband this week, and at night she watches TV with her mother, who lives with her and is slowly forgetting most things, including the plots of her favorite movies, which they now watch over and over. That weekend the fairy godmother takes her sister’s children to the water park so her sister (who is going through a divorce of her own) can have a break from it all. The water park is in a strip mall surrounded by desert. It is full of screaming children and depleted mothers and overpriced junk food. The fairy godmother thinks it might be the closest place to Hell she’s ever been. Tomorrow after work, she’ll help a friend pick out a dress for the friend’s wedding, then she’ll make dinner for her mother and watch Moonstruck for the third time that week, and she has to schedule an appointment with the dermatologist at some point because a strange rash has emerged across her shoulder blades and back like something is trying to crawl out of her skin. She doesn’t know yet that she has wings, or fairy blood, and what is magic anyway except wishful thinking, a dream that is not really her own? She has not met the girl she will save yet, who at this point is still only a baby, still loved and happy, but perhaps the two are already merged, connected across time and space, opposite sides of the same coin. Perhaps every fairy godmother who crystalizes carriages from garden vegetables, who breaks open the sealed shutters of someone else’s dead-end life, first sits on the ledge of her own transformation, a starved hope inside her, a dream of her own, and wonders what she needs to become herself, wonders when she’ll have the courage to leap.
From The Lilac Issue of Fairy Tale Review. Published by Wayne State University Press, 2022.