I was lying in the bath, quiet music on the radio, G&T to hand, pencil poised to complete another crossword answer. I glanced up and saw a tiny creature, about 9 inches tall, standing between the hot and cold taps. Was this part of a dream, had I dozed off?
What are you, or rather who are you?
I've told you several times already. You weren't listening . The tone of voice was quite severe. I am your Fairy Godmother .
But that's ridiculous. There's no such thing.
Well if there is no such thing then I can't be here, but I am.
Sorry, but this is obviously the result of the skinful that I had last night.
So how does your head feel this morning?
Well, actually, not bad at all. I feel good.
And who's to thank for that?
I suppose it's because I stuck to one drink and had lots of water.
Nice try. Now have another go.
I suppose you're going to tell me it was you?
Yes. Of course it was. The tone of voice was quite prim his time .
But how? I don't remember doing anything special, apart from… I blushed and tried to remove the memory from my mind.
Don't you remember wishing for something?
No. My mind is a blank in that direction
You said "I wish I didn't get hangovers".
I never actually said that.
You thought it. It's the same thing for me. I just arranged for you to drink sensibly.
So if I wish for something you make it happen? Nice work.
Don't be sarcastic. You don't get everything you wish for. I have to exercise my judgement.
This was beginning to sound like my Mother talking.
If you're real then why do you look like that?
Like what? The sharp tone again.
Well, the whole fairy thing. The wand, the gauzy wings, the pink dress, the blond hair. The only thing missing is the toadstool.
And your point is?
You're kidding me? Fairies only look like that in kid's picture books. How come you look like the book fairies?
Turn the question round. How come they look like me? Because the illustrators copy what they've seen. And since you mention it, toadstools are tricky to sit on but they're really handy when it's raining.
So the people who write fairy stories have all seen you?
Well, a lot them. Some just copy pictures other people have drawn. My sisters and I are real enough.
Sisters? There's more of you?
Of course. I can't be Fairy Godmother to the whole world.
Oh silly me, of course not, that would be too much to do even for a fairy.
I'm getting properly annoyed off with you. Why do you find it so difficult to understand what I'm telling you?
I don't think I remember you ever doing any Godmothering when I needed help.
So you've forgotten Maths GCSE. When you couldn't remember the proof of the binomial theorem? And then it came to you?
I did remember it. I was not much good at maths, and I needed to pass the exam, and I needed that proof. I remembered how it suddenly came to me almost as if it was written in my mind and I just had to copy it down.
So that was you telling me?
Yes. The important thing is you said, well you thought 'I really wish I could remember the binomial theory proof'. You asked, I delivered.
How could anyone else ever have known that. I was gobsmacked.
Tell me another time.
All right. You were very little and you wanted a teddy-bear for Christmas and your parents couldn't afford it. You got a teddy because I diverted a courier who then accidentally dropped off a delivery at the wrong house. Some other kid lost out, but his family had enough stuff already. And I squared it with his Godmother.
In my mind I could see that photo on Christmas morning. I'm clutching this teddy and my parents are looking slightly puzzled. I often wondered why. I confess I was beginning to believe what the fairy was telling me, even that she was real. And if what she told me was true then this could be very useful.
So I just have to wish for something and you'll fix it?
No, it's not as simple as that. I'm not a mind-reader but I know you were thinking you could use me to get stuff.
I blushed. That was exactly what I was thinking so I asked how she knew that.
Humans are all very much alike, and I do have other clients. I have learned how they think about things. They've tried all the tricks on me, even the one about wishing that all your wishes would come true. I doesn't work so don't even go there.
Well how does the wish thing work then?
Have you seen Peter Pan in the theatre? Tinkerbell is dying and everyone has to clap loudly to show that they believe in her so as to bring her back to life. You have to believe in me like that. Then you have to really wish for something. And then, like I said, I decide whether you are being selfish or greedy or whether it is something you deserve. And you have to wish for something specific. Wishing for world peace and harmony is not going to work, it is too general. And finally you have to actually say or think 'I wish…' Then I can tune in to you. You won't have to wait, you'll know very quickly if I approve of your wish. And it's nice to say Thank You afterwards, by the way.
We had spent a long time talking and there was so much more I wanted to know. But she made to go.
Will I see you again?
Maybe. Now I have clients to deal with. Most of them don't ask as many questions as you have. They see the point more quickly.
And she was gone. No puff of smoke or anything silly. She just suddenly wasn't there.
It took me a long time to process all this and I confess there were times when I wondered if it had happened or if I had just imagined it from a fuddled brain. Then one lunch-time, about six or seven weeks later, I was sitting on my own having just collected my lasagne, fruit salad and juice on a tray. I sat down at the back of the canteen. I glanced at the queue and there he was. No-one I had ever seen before, and utterly gorgeous. About my height, light longish hair, fair skin, nicely built, I guessed brown eyes. He was looking around the room.
Out of nowhere I said silently 'I wish you would come and sit here'. As I looked at him he caught my glance and walked over. "Hi. I'm new here, can I sit with you?".
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