ACROSS TIME AND SPACE
Natalina was about four years old, in her family’s garden when she first saw faeries. She was sitting in her fancy chair in her family’s garden in Calabria, Italy. The graceful curves of the armrests and carved inlaid handwork in the headrest suggested out-of-the-
ordinary grandeur. The pretend princess was seated on her pretend throne, in the shade of her pretend castle-terrace, overlooking the royal garden. Sipping on an imaginary drink, and relishing the view, her attention was drawn to two dragonflies peeping from among the sword shaped leaves of the yellow irises nearest the patio.
Their deep orange red color amid the light green of the iris leaves had caught her eye. There was no mistaking them for the iris. Curious for a closer look, the little princess, to avoid scaring them, quietly slid off her throne and crept alongside the five foot oleander hedge that encircled the garden. Hidden and fearless, confident in her hide and seek skills, Natalina snuck closer to the dragonflies from behind.
A few seconds passed. Natalina was close behind the iris plant when the dragonflies lifted smoothly out of the clump of leaves and glided lightly onto her fancy chair. One landed on an arm and the other onto the seat. Natalina inched closer. The dragonfly on the seat melted away, becoming a mannish creature, about the size of an average cat. It was bent, angular, and skinny, intent on running its gnarly hand over the seat. Meanwhile, the second dragonfly had rearranged itself into a likewise grey spindly
The first creature pressed its nose up against the headrest.
‟It’s here⏤it’s the chair.” Then came sniffing.
Next, the second creature looked carefully and said, ‟There, the carved inlaid area.”
Princess Natalina was caught in a wobbly jumble. This sort of transformation happened all the time in her pretend world. Had pretend spilled into the real world just now? She watched as both little creatures ran their hands all over the inlaid design on
the headrest. They looked as though they were talking to each other but as much as she wanted to listen in, fear kept her motionless. Slowly, a mist of light enveloped them both, their hands still in place on the headrest; the two faded and were gone. The chair remained, unchanged by the visitation.
No one believed her. Her mother smiled and said, ‟Maybe you ate too many strawberries⏤they sugared up your mind to see silly things happen. Don’t worry, Natalina bambolina, there are no strange animals in the yard.”
‟They weren’t animals Mama, first they were two red flying dragons, then they flew to my princess chair and changed into skinny little people.