You see, she only said I shouldn’t tell you, but she never said I couldn’t write it down for you to find a year after I die. Which is what I’m about to do.
And this all started with a letter. A hand-written letter sent by your mother, and my best friend Sarah. The letter was simple, since your mother for all her courage was still self-conscious about her own writing. You’ll have noticed that your other mother loves to write Sarah hand-written notes for her to find around their bakery, but your mother almost never writes back in kind.
Anyway, it simply said: Dear Ro, I’ve finally got a bakery in Maine, in Portsmouth, next to land and sea. My grand opening is on July twenty-second. If you can you should come and visit, I’ll save you a carrot cake. Love, Sarah.
Your mother and I had been friends for ten years, since high school. She was and is one of the closest friends I’d ever had the grace of knowing. I hope, for your sake Sonya that you got to understand your mother, heart and soul; the way only a few still alive on Earth ever got to. Your mother was nice, but how she hated being called nice. But nice was just the surface you know, she was also kind and gentle, but fierce with a wicked sailor’s mouth when she felt the need to use it. Not too surprising then, when I found out she lived in a port town.
Except we hadn’t really spoken in four years. Each of us had gotten caught up with our own lives, you know how it is. But I looked on her letter with a small smile, humbled that your mother still knew how much I loved her carrot cake.
But you see, the not having spoken in four years is important, because in that span of four years I had finally moved out of our hometown and found an apartment of my own north of Dallas. Not that your mother knew this, so she sent the letter to my grandparents, probably in the hopes that they’d tell me and I could pick it up from them that same day.
Suffice to say that I wasn’t able to actually read the letter until the twenty second of July. And suffice to say I hopped on a plane the next day and was in Portsmouth by the twenty-fourth, my birthday. But in grand fashion, your mother hadn’t told me much else beyond that she lived in Portsmouth and had a bakery. So there I am, in Portsmouth, entirely lost and entirely having forgotten to ask the cabby for directions. Suffice to say I found my way to your mother’s bakery, which faced the ocean, as I should have already guessed.
A small little bakery, The Stardust Bakery, done up in pale pinks, pastel purples, and pale silvers. Quite girly, which was more in line with your other mother’s taste, not so much Sarah’s, but Sarah never seemed to mind much. I peered into the bakery first from one of the shop windows, hoping she’d be there but wanting to be sure.
Her hair was long, down to her lower back, long and in every shade of green imaginable, dark green at the roots flowing into a pastel ivy green at the tips. And she was just as short as she’d always been, with her cherub cheeks that made her look younger than her thirty years. Her hands were different though, as was her walk. Her hands used to flutter around her, she was always flitting about with them when she wasn’t baking or making something in the kitchen, even worse when she had the urge to paint. And she used to walk entirely and too consciously aware that her hips were big and her butt was bigger, so she always seemed to be walking on eggshells, cautiously aware that her butt could and would crash into something.
Now, her gait was different, more sure of itself. She almost seemed to glide to and from the pastry shelves as she laughed with customers and her co-workers. Her hands glided where they used to flit and fuss. And then she turned to profile and I finally realized that yes, she was pregnant, very much so. You liked to stick out Sonya, even then.
The little doorbell rang out my arrival and Sarah immediately noticed me. She gasped and smiled and ran towards me, arms held out wide. I smiled shyly, not used to such public displays of affection. I hugged her awkwardly since she was bulging from the front. I laughed when I looked down at Sarah’s bulging belly, and I quirked one eyebrow.
“More than just a grand opening huh,” I said, and proceeded to rub the belly, making silly little phrases I won’t bother repeating here. Sarah stuttered at me, her expression ironic and happy at the same time.
“I meant to tell you but I was kind of rushed when I wrote the letter,” she said. She swatted my hands away from her belly and motioned me to one of the booths on the far end of her bakery. I looked around and smiled at what I saw. I was happy for her, happy she’d gotten all she’d wanted. We sat down on opposite benches and I slammed my hands on the table, giving off a feigned air of seriousness.
“So, who’s the lucky papa?” I asked excitedly, and Sarah raised her eyebrows.
“Uhhh,” she said, breaking out into a small giggle.
“Well, I don’t know? But that’s because I’m not gonna raise it with the papa,” she said quickly. I quirked an eyebrow, not quite understanding at the time.
Sarah gave a nervous laugh and called out, “Anya!” and then turned back to me and smiled.
And in walked your other mother, Sonya.
The lovely Anya, who at first sight I didn’t quite like. It wasn’t a feeling I could pin down, there just felt like there was something off about her. As if her features weren’t wholly there, wholly made solid or something. And her fingers seemed longer than they should be, and her eyes seemed bigger than they should be. Her frame was lithe and long, gentle curves where Sarah had vivacious ones. Her hair a russet brown that cascaded in perfect waves down her back, with green, green eyes. But it was the eyes that made me suspicious, her eyes were a supernatural sort of green, but I seemed to be the only one that noticed.
I couldn’t help it, my smile faded a bit when I saw her. And of course, Sarah noticed. Anya didn’t and she smiled softly at me, extending out her hand to me.
I took it after a little hesitation, and Anya did notice that.
“Anya deNue. Sarah’s told me a lot about you Roxanne,” Anya said cautiously, her green, green eyes peering deep into me.
“While I haven’t heard anything about you Anya,” I said, and I chuckled, trying to lighten the mood.
Sarah chimed in at this point, “We met about three years ago, Ro. In a baking class. Don’t be such a sourpuss,” she said, laughing to show she was teasing. And Anya smiled at her warmly, while I only scrunched my eyebrows, feigning insult. It seemed to work, because Sarah laughed a little at me, and Anya smiled a bit less icily at me afterwards.
“Oh, could you bring some carrot cake, Anya? Ro likes carrot cake too,” Sarah said smiling up at your other mother, Sonya.
“Your carrot cake got bought out two days ago, and I didn’t want to see it get spoiled,” Sarah confessed. I shrugged my shoulders and smiled sincerely.
“I’m glad somebody got to eat it, and hey I get to eat something too! And tell me about the bakery? Do you live upstairs?” I asked, waggling my eyebrows. And your mom smiled and started talking about the smells of the bakery and how she and Anya can always smell it even when they go upstairs to bed. I’d never seen your mom so happy and content, and Anya looked happy enough too, for all her strange physical-ness. She brought the carrot cake and smoothed out your mother’s hair, before kissing her head and then walking back behind the counter to sell pastries to any lingering brunch customers.
And we talked and talked for hours on end, Sonya. We had four years to fill up and we did our best to fill them. Your other mother, Anya watched us from her place behind the counter, and sometimes I’d sneak glances at her and she was always watching your mother, a soft smile on her lips.
And there was one moment where the afternoon sun hit Anya square in the face and she turned away, and there, ever so delicately etched in the air behind her back were wings. Two pairs of wings, glistening like thin gossamer against the afternoon sunlight.
“What is it?” she asked, and I shook my head, turning back to face her. I stumbled out an excuse and deflected with a question I knew would distract her.
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t ask Sarah if she could see Anya’s wings aren’t you? And I wish I could answer with a satisfying response, but I just knew, if Sarah hadn’t seen them before I came to Portsmouth she wouldn’t see them if I made her look for them. At least, I didn’t think so.
So we kept talking and I mentioned Norway, and whether or not I should go. And your mother doled off possible names for you, and Anya chimed in.
“We’re naming her Sonya, Sarah. After my mother,” and Anya quirked her eyebrow, a mischievous look in those supernatural green eyes. I stared at her, perhaps too intently as I looked for some other sign of the supernatural; Anya caught me staring and I turned away, embarrassed. Thankfully, your mother did not notice.
“Holy crap it’s already five,” I said, looking at my watch. Sarah’s eyes went wide with surprise and Anya came over, laughing at us.
“You guys have been talking my ear off and every other customer. We close in an hour, Roxanne. We can take you out to eat if you don’t mind. I’ve sent Jill and Joanne home for the evening already darling,” Anya directed towards Sarah, gathering up the plate that had held my pastry from hours ago.
Sarah nodded and turned to me, “Yeah! Because it is your birthday,” she said and I started slightly. For once, in my thirty years of living, I had forgotten it was my birthday.
Anya called out from the back of the shop, the sound of water echoing, “It’s your birthday! Darling that settles it, we’ll take your friend out whether she wants to or not.”
Sarah smiled a bit too dreamily for my taste, but then again she’s always been the more romantic one of us. “She likes to eat out,” she told me, continuing to smile oh so dreamily.
Anya was radiant as she came out of the back room, as Sarah and I stood up from our sitting places. I noticed small curlicue veins running up her arms, but then I blinked, and they were gone.
Sarah wobbled a bit as she got up, and Anya and I lent her a hand. She laughed at this.
“I’m just pregnant, not fragile,” she said to the two of us.
Anya rolled her eyes, “You almost slipped on flour yesterday, and the flour wasn’t originally on the floor when it happened.”
I gave Sarah a dead-pan face, “It wasn’t on the floor when it happened? Terrible.” Your mother swatted my arm and an hour and a half later, we were out the door of your mothers’ bakery shop.
Anya decided to take us to this really happening jazz place, as Sarah mentioned my love of jazz. And I noticed how everyone always seemed to stop and stare at your other mother. Those green, green eyes and russet brown hair always called attention to her. Her height made it easier for people to notice her too, and I watched her and sometimes would notice her ears seemed to prick a little unnaturally at the tips of her ears and then the next instant were normal and rounded. I noticed her long, graceful fingers and how there seemed to be an extra digit to them but I couldn’t be sure.
And I noticed the overall shimmer to her, the overall glow that seemed to emanate from her. I’m sure you’ve noticed it Sonya, being what you are. I’m sure you’ve either noticed it or noticed it and just decided to ignore it. After all, ever since your birth Anya got quite good at hiding these little defects in her façade. But for all her physical peculiarities, she did love your mother Sonya. She was absolutely smitten with her, and teasing, and in love. That for sure was not a façade.
“And how did you two meet anyway, you never told me Sarah,” I asked her as we waited for the tab, the jazz band taking a small intermission.
Anya giggled conspiratorially, “We met over honey.”
And just like your other mother, you do love honey Sonya. It’s a fairy thing it seems.
And we kept talking, and I kept noticing these little things about your other mother but I wasn’t sure if I was just seeing things because I wanted to see them or if they were really there.
Until later that evening, as we were walking out of the jazz club. A family with two little girls walked out just as we were, and I saw the two little girls walk behind Anya, stars in their eyes. The fluorescent lighting was catching the air in such a way that they could just make out the whisper of fairy wings fluttering at Anya’s back.
And that was when I knew.
But I didn’t confront her later that night; I didn’t get a chance to.
For as you know, just as we were all walking back to the bakery shop, Sarah started feeling labor pains and a few moment after that, her water broke.
Oh you should have seen us Sonya, your other mother and I looked quite ridiculous yelling at the tops of our lungs for all the world to hear that Sarah was having a baby and we didn’t have a car.
It was Sarah who called 911, and Sarah that calmly told the operator that she was in labor and that her girlfriend and best friend were losing it.
And as you know, my precious Sonya, you took five hours to enter into the world. And five hours is a long time for any mother, and your mother’s nerves were at their wit’s end so Anya and I left her for awhile so we could all recharge without Sarah possibly beheading us before you came, Sonya.
Sarah can tell you, I’ve never been good with timing.
Outside Sarah’s hospital room as Anya drank from the faucet, I confronted your other mother.
“You’re a fairy,” I said.
Anya calmly rose from her bent position by the faucet and moved so she could lean against the hospital wall by Sarah’s hospital door. I stood next to her, facing her with a cautious look.
“And you’re in love with Sarah,” she said instead.
I snorted, shaking my head. “Of course I am. She’s my best friend. I’ll always be in love her, but not in way beyond friendship just so you know.”
Anya sighed and eyed some far corner of the hospital. “She still leaves out honey for us, did you know that? She left honey out on her first night here in Maine, that was when I first saw her. She was scared, that much I could tell and I watched her from behind the little bowl of honey she’d left out. She’s so beautiful Roxanne. And she left honey out every night.”
“Yeah well, Sarah’s always thought you fairies were good,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.
I quirked an eyebrow at her as she turned to face me, “While I’ve always thought you fairies to be fickle and conniving. And certainly not prone to long-term relationships.”
Anya smiled sadly, those fairy green eyes of her downcast. “You’re not wrong, most fairies are fickle. And most tend to be conniving. And while I can’t promise I’ll always be here, I can promise I’ll always come back, and I’ll always love her. The baby binds me you know. A baby of her blood and mine.”
I raised my eyebrows just as you are probably raising your eyebrows Sonya.
“How in hell did you manage that?” I asked.
And your other mother smiled coyly, shrugging one shoulder, “A witch’s help. She owed me a favor and she’d rather stay in the good graces of my mother, so she helped. My mother hopes for the best, this sort of union without hasn’t been done in centuries.”
“And just who is your mother, should I be worried?”
And there was that coy smile again, “A very powerful Queen.”
I harrumphed and Anya only shrugged. “Why is it that I can see you?” I asked her.
Anya sighed, “A drop of fairy blood or two runs through your veins. Not enough to warrant any real magic, but just enough that fairy magic and fairy dust doesn’t work on you. Though I suspect that it’s fire fairies that runs through your blood. You do seem as stubborn as them.”
I chuckled, “All the women in my family are stubborn.”
“You can’t tell Sarah,” she whispered, a little nervously.
“Why not? She still leaves honey out! I doubt she’d be shocked in a bad way.”
“It never turns out well, when humans know. Please, don’t tell her Roxanne.”
I sighed and nodded, and I never told your mother, Sonya.
“You must promise by Queen Titania’s blood that you will never tell Sarah nor will you ever tell my daughter Sonya that I am fairy born,” Anya said with authority.
I quirked my eyebrow but she continued to stare me down and I conceded. And I said the words, Sonya, thinking to myself that she had never said anything about writing it down.
Moments after that the doctor called us back in, and at 1:37 in the morning you were born, Sonya. Sarah titled me your godmother, which I found so funny since you had a real fairy for a mother. I stayed for a few moments more but then I noticed the amorous looks between your mothers and knew I was intruding. I kissed your little hands and your little toes and said goodbye to your mothers before leaving.
Your other mother, Anya stopped me as I was walking down the hallway. For a moment, I saw her in her true fairy form glimmering in and out of the fluorescent lighting. She was startlingly beautiful Sonya. Her wings the same ivy color green as the tips of Sarah’s hair.
“Do you dye her hair?” I asked her then. Anya smiled that coy smile of hers and shrugged, before laughing. Which is why your mother never had grown out roots whenever Anya dyed her hair.
“Go to Norway, Roxanne. But you won’t be looking for it when you stumble upon it,” she said cryptically, before giving me one final nod and walking back to your mother and you.
And yes, I followed your other mother’s advice and there in Norway I met your uncle. Who happened to be a sorcerer, and just my luck that my friend would marry the gorgeous fairy and I marry the enigmatic sorcerer.
Eric and I married the next year Sonya but not without a bit of adventure in between, with a bit of chaos when his mother and father found out he was marrying a mere mortal, worse, that she had fairy blood in her. But that is a story for a different letter my precious Sonya.
And I will end this letter by saying that you are indeed half-fairy Sonya and that your other mother stood by her word and even more so. She never left your mother and she always loved her and you. And while Sarah has been dead these seven long years, your other mother for all her wrinkles has not really aged, fairies are immortal you know.
Be kind to your other mother when you confront her and do not be upset that she never told you. I don’t think your other mother ever meant to keep it a secret from you these long years, but fairies can be fickle with truths you know, and they can be forgetful.
Good luck my precious Sonya, and I wish you many years of happiness and of love, for by my reckoning, you are immortal too.
Roxanne V. Wolfe