Phallon watched the fish swim in the pond his Grandpa had installed in his backyard. He enjoyed visiting his Grandpa each Saturday. Grandpa had put the pond in because young Phallon loved the fish so much as a toddler; ‘fishes’ had been his first word.
Now he sat with Grandpa who asked him about school and of course the girls in his school. Uncomfortable, Phallon wished Grandpa didn’t ask him about that.
Grandpa simply laughed,”Phallon, I’m only teasing you. It’s good you have friends who are girls and that there are girls you like. This Jennifer, have you asked her out?”
Phallon’s face turned red, “Yeah we’ve gone to a movie together and bowling. I want her to be my girlfriend but her parents say she’s too young to have a boyfriend.”
Grandpa nodded a smile on his face, “You’ll find the right one when you’re older. When I saw your Grandma the first time, my heart lept out of my chest. I wonder if I will ever meet that right girl of yours and see you marry her?”
Phallon felt uncomfortable again, “Why wouldn’t you be there Grandpa? You’re only eighty-one?”
Grandpa patted Phallon’s hand then squeezed it, “You know, my boy, I’ve been sick a long time. It’s a battle I’ve mostly conquered, but my strength is waning these days.When you get married someday, think of your old Grandpa, okay?” Phallon nodded feeling a lump in his throat.
Two-years later Grandpa succumbed. Phallon was sixteen and felt raw inside. He returned to the fish pond in Grandpa’s back yard. He noticed the fishes were floating and the reality of life made tears wet his cheeks. In the mess of the last two weeks including Grandpa’s funeral, no one had remembered to feed the fish.
Alice was excited to be eighteen and have her coming-out party in society. The young girl who talked nonsense about Wonderland was gone — the adult had almost swallowed her fantastical self completely.
She participated in garden parties, having tea in different settings such as fashionable tea rooms with her mother and girl friends. Alice went out with friends on picnics and sometimes on a double-date with a girl friend, two gentlemen with potential, and of course a chaperone.
Part of Alice always had a difficult time letting go of Wonderland. She knew it as a world infinantly crazy. At the same time, it was a place where she felt at home and life even though hidden beneath words and rhymes, made the most sense out of any place she had visited.
Alice had been around the world. Her father and mother had taken her to Europe. She had seen art and buildings thousands of years-old. She studied countless kings, queens, poets, philisophers, and clergymen as she travelled with a tutor. She had even been to the Orient, stocking up on silk and tea for he friends. Something about having tea, always appealed to her. It wasn’t merely Victorian society’s obsession with the past-time.
Throughout her travels, Alice found herself thinking about her days in Wonderland. She would consider if her two grand adventures actually occurred. If the dreams she still had of people and creatures in Wonderland — new and old, throughout her life –were true?
Alice could picture her Wonderland friends drinking tea, eating cookies, and talking nonsense; it had all felt real. She missed her childhood, but at the same time thought she had indeed been bonkers. Her friends at school had quickly shown her how odd little girls were treated and mocked, until Alice ceased talking about Wonderland at all.
As she grew-up, she believed she caught glimpses of a furry white rabbit in a vest following her, keeping watch. The White Rabbit would turn his head and smile at Alice, purposefully checking his pocket watch and then waving it at her. She didn’t know what the White Rabbit wanted from her and she was never quite sure if he was real. Alice began to ignore the White Rabbit, but he was persistent, even invading her sleep. Her dreams became increasingly vivid and she felt wherever she went, traces of Wonderland and its inhabitants, grasped her with dreamy tendrils.
Since Alice had first returned from Wonderland as a small girl of six, a pair of intense green-eyes and an attractive smile, had haunted her dreams. She knew this man, knew he’d always been watching out for her in the stickiest of situations as she grew up, keeping her safe. Alice had never had the chance to meet this young man, only knew that he lingered in her presence often, and that when he she felt him, she was at peace.
Alice’s eigteenth birthday was a grand affair. Several young men and women attended with their families. Last night had been an opulent coming-out ball but tonight was a private affair for Alice and her closest girl friends. The best potential suitors for Alice and her friends were also invited.
She was sipping her tea when her eyes caught the eyes of a man she thought to be about five years her senior. His green-eyes were familiar and glinted knowingly at Alice. She stared at him enthralled; he seemed to know she was drawn to him. His smile was devastatingly familiar, but only in her dreams. Alice wasn’t sure she believedher dreams were genuine. Could magic still be real?
The young man was a strange creature to her, as strange as those creatures she’d met in Wonderland long ago. Perhaps more so, if the sins of the flesh the Abbot talked about were as terrible as he said they were. But Alice didn’t much care about the Abbot’s warnings. She was intrigued and had always been a curious girl; she peered at the green-eyed man considering him.
His suit was finely-made and he smiled at her boldly. He moved towards her, but Alice hid amongst her friends, not yet ready to meet him. Her heart fluttered when her eyes met the young man’s mysterious green-eyes again; he was laughing at her shyness.
Alice perturbed by his making fun of her, left her own party and went outside to ponder. She sat on a bench in the garden behind her house. She still tended the roses in the garden but had forgotten the unique song of all flowers, she had sung as a child. Her roses were wilting and dry. She stood up and bent to pick a lone surviving rose. Hearing odd noises she looked up.
She was unsure of where she was at first, the garden had disappeared and Alice stood on a large slippery brown rock in the middle of an ocean. A young man in a boat rowed towards her and the noises she heard was the water lapping against the stone.
“Oh, do hurry, this rock is so small and I think the water is rising,” Alice yelled to the man. She waved her arms until the boat was next to the rock and piercing green-eyes met her shocked blue ones. Strong hands gently held her steady as she stepped into the row boat.
Alice was grateful to the man, but then she recognized his face from the party. He pushed his short dark-brown waves from his forehead. His green-eyes knowingly studied Alice. She felt as a if she were a child again, under a teacher’s gaze, but the young man was not upset at her; he seemed curious and careful with her instead.
“Alice,” the young man said, “Please take a seat so I can row us to safer waters and neither one of us falls in the ocean.” Alice obeyed, sitting opposite of the man with her mouth gaping. The man gently closed her mouth, smoothing her skin with the back of his hand.
Alice’s face heated and she blushed,”Who are you? And why are you here with me in Wonderland? I didn’t think you were real, real enough to attend my party.”
The young man’s eyes twinkled cheerfully, “I’m Wren, Alice, and I’m here and yourhere because Wonderland needs us. It was time for you to return and time I met you in person — not only in your dreams.” Alice flushed red.
Wren chuckled, “You didn’t go easy on our friend the White Rabbit. He’s a bit peeved at you for ignoring him so long. He kept waving his prized watch at you. I’m surprised you weren’t curious enough to follow him, darling.”
“Wren, are you from Wonderland or did you come here as a child too, like me? You’ve been with me before a great deal. I remember your green-eyes and smile; you keep me safe, but you never say hello. I’ve never seen how you actually look before.”
“Dearest, I’ve always lived in Wonderland and you’re correct, I’ve been with you when you’ve visited and I take care you are safe in the outside world. I have a Cheshire Cat who watches you closely, along with my friend the White Rabbit. I haven’t always been able to be with you, but when I cannot you can be sure the Cheshire Cat or the White Rabbit are there.”
“Why do you keep me safe Wren and why do you call me dearest? I always thought you lived only in my dreams. It’s been so long since I visited through the looking glass; do you stand with the Red Queen or the White Queen?”
Wren smiled softly as he rowed the boat effortlessly, Alice peppering him with questions; he listened contentedly as he rowed. “I’m supported by the White Queen Alice, but my influence is greater than hers and so yourinfluence will be greater than any queen as well.”
Alice studied Wren. She had been staring her boots shyly, for far too long. It wasn’t like her to be shy, when she bubbled with questions. Yet, she could feel herself blush anytime she looked at Wren; his smile brightened when he caught Alice staring.
She brushed the blond hair out of her eyes and in her frilly white dress, balled her hands together on her lap, determined to have a long look at Wren. She was assured she’d seen him before in some form and felt his presence keeping her from harm. Wren was beautiful to Alice; he was handsome and lithely muscled beneath his clothes. He was from Wonderland so she was pleased not to have to hide nonsensicallogic from him; he already would understand what Wonderland was like.
She noticed his eyes peruse her and Alice blushed again. Wren reached for her small hand and squeezed it gently, as he stopped rowing the boat. “Alice, you’re beautiful. As a girl, I thought you a fascinating girl, defeating the Red Queen and deftly dealing with Time. You had such a tousled head of blond hair and you still do. You’ve the same inquisitive blue-eyes and you’ve grown into a stunning woman,” Wren told her squeezing her hand again. He seemed genuine and the compliments made Alice flustered.
“Your beauty is also an asset when one has been tasked to guard Wonderland as we have,” Wren continued.”Beauty can attract and fool people and often, at the same time,” Wren said, absently stroking circles on Alice’s hand. “It’s hard for me to explain. Especially since I’ve much more experience than you’ve in life. Humans ageslowly in Wonderland –most creatures here do. But as in any land, we have ourownways to protect and our own tyrants to fight. You have proven yourself twice against our foes.”
Wren held both her hands firmly, appearing serious, “We have always had two guardians at a time, for a thousand Wonderland years each pair, ensuring Wonderland’s survival. Our guardians are a couple; a couple is stronger than one being. I am one guardian, born in Wonderland and familiar with its ways,” Wren said.
“The second guardian is you, Alice, born of the outside world. You have learned and come to love Wonderland — though lately you pretend otherwise. You are the second guardian Alice and I’ve waited forever for you, my other half. You know forever can be a very long time.”
Alice blushed and then upon realizing the great responsibility she now had, her face went white, “Why me? Is this why I have never been able to forget Wonderland all these years ? Am I to marry you, a man I don’t really know?
Wren grinned at Alice tugging gently on her hands as she tried to free herself from his touch; he chuckled, playfully. Alice began to smile too and as she peered up from their joined hands, she saw the row boat resting on a beach. They stepped over the side of the boat and the vivacity and colour of Wonderland surrounded her as they walked into the forest. The flowers greeted Alice immediately, so happy she had returned.
Wren stopped walking a moment, turning to face Alice. He was heads above her and tilted her chin up to look at him. “My Alice,” he began, “Magic is a curious thing. It can find the right people and draw them together. It has always driven me to you. I have loved you since I first saw you.”
“That makes no sense.”
“But it does Alice. You believe in magic, yes?” Alice nodded.
“Then you know. If you want magical things to happen, you must believe in them. We must believe in each other. And what’s knowing? People are together fifty-years in your world and they don’t know each other. Often, they’ve forgotten the magic — the love, between them. Here the world is magic and I will not forget you or our love.”
“Wren, I’m particularly fond of you. I’ve never felt this way, except about you, ever — only in dreams when you visited, when I felt you near somehow. Is that love and is it enough? And I’m only eighteen-years-old, how can I guard Wonderland?
Wren smiled and he gently pecked Alice’s lips.”We have forever. Forever is a thousand Wonderland years. All your old friends are here. Not those girls who were cruel to you for being you at school. Wonderland needs us both and you will soon know me as I know you. We will even know each other better than most people ever know each other. What you feel for me, I’m so thankful for. And yes it is enough, it is the beginning of love.”
“I’m not sure couples should always know each other better. Sometimes secrets are better kept,” Alice said thoughtfully.
“Dearest, we cannot have secrets. We have a responsibility but we have a haven in each other and perhaps much later, a child to carry on as guardian with another girl or boy from your world, when forever comes,” Wren stated stroking Alice’s cheek.
“I can trust you, Wren? I’d rather have the truth in a nonsensical way than an outright lie,” Alice said firmly staring at Wren.
He blushed this time, “I will be truthful to you —nonsensically and sensically.”
Alice smiled and kissed Wren’s cheek before saying,”You never said Wren, who do we guard Wonderland from?”
“From reality, Alice. From those who do not believe in magic. For those who would tell people love is not real and everything has to be logical and makesense. Though our world is much nonsense, we make moresense than the real world. There are always monsters in the midst and as you know, timehimself is often one of them. So are Queens and many tyrants, there is always a badguy somewhere I’m afraid,” Wren said a bit tiredly.
Alice stared at Wren, standing on her tippy-toes, and stroking his stumbled cheeks in comfort. She felt drawn to Wren, as if she were in a pleasant fog. Gently her lips met Wren’s for a kiss. He kissed her back more intensely and she could feel what she knew was passion between them; it was Alice’s first real kiss. They lingered a while, walking and teasing each other, stealing more kisses which were more difficult for Alice to step away from each time.
A stray thought occurrred to her as they walked, “Won’t my mother miss me?” Alice asked, “How can I leave her alone?”
“She will believe you married a wealthy heir and will be pleased, as that will be the truth; we can visit her often, though she will be gone for most of your lifetime.”
Alice nodded feeling sad, but realizing her duty with Wren. She wasn’t afraid, knowing he was with her. She knew their relationship was blossoming and would flourish, perhaps, with ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ as couples had — but perhaps, better. Their connection had been built her entire life.
Taking Wren’s hand, Alice walked off into Wonderland. How curious her home would be here with Wren and his green–eyes gazing at her with love, and the White Rabbit out of no where, jumping beside them.
Prompt: What or Why is it important to go out with friends, interact with people, and have fun. ( Idea provided by clcouch123 . Please check out his blog and his wonderful Psalms.)
When I was a little girl I didn’t have the easiest time making friends with other girls. I would be friends with a girl for awhile then a fight would happen and the friendship would cease. Both parties would go play with someone else. In consequence, I spent a lot of time hanging out with the boys and playing sports or rough-housing. Maybe, this could have been because I had two younger brothers and was use to playing with them. I was also a tubby little girl so the guys didn’t see me as a ‘girl’ per say, because I didn’t quite have the skinny physique that the popular girls had.
But time changes social status. I was skinny and pretty in Jr. High but Sr. High had its moments of misery. But when university began, since I had had such a small graduating class at my high school, the kids who went to the university across the football field from the high school, were close to each other for the first two years of university. I hung out with my friends and new friends from high school. Some of my university pals became busy around third year as some of them opted for a three year BA, especially if they were going into a teaching degree afterwards. As a result, I made new friends, many from the University Bookstore I worked at throughout my BA. A girl named T worked with me and I made friends with a bunch of her friends from high school on a Pubcrawl, one extremely fun Halloween. I made friends with her cousins too and it was the year the Oilers were in the Stanley Cup final so we had fun watching hockey then heading to Whyte Ave for crazy fandamonium. We meant another girl named L in my fourth year of my degree and became friends with a girl K I knew who worked at the university in development; also my friend from highschool S, and her friend from Russia A were part of my circle. There were other girls we hung out with when we went out and an even larger group of people we socialized with. Now my social circle is made up of a small group of girls, who I have been friends with since university and even before that.
Most of my good friends are married or have a serious boyfriend. I can only think of one or two who are single like me. I was single for along time. I had no boyfriend in university. Then I was too sick for two or three years to handle a relationship and finally at twenty-six-years old I started dating A and we dated for four years.
But all these times I have spent with friends from whatever age I was, why was that so important? Well, friends help us validate who we are. We know in our families that we are accepted for being us and because often our own short fallings are the same short fallings are parents deal with too. But when we make friends when we’re children we learn to get along with people who are different from us. The lessons we learn from our parents can be different from lessons other kids are learning from their parents. We may gravitate to other kids who are different from us because that is appealing to us, to not follow what our parents say. Or, we may end up being friends with people who are a lot like us, who have to follow similar rules, and are in similar activities.
Children are often talented at making friends. But some kids have something about them that makes them different from other kids. Maybe they are poor, look geeky, are chubby, or another kid decides they are jealous of them or don’t like them. Bullying is a terrible action that occurs to some kids, an action that scars kids and their parents alike. If you asked certain bully’s why they hurt other kids when they did, they probably wouldn’t know. They would say they didn’t like a particular kid. Maybe, they were having trouble at home or they were bullied too. It seems whatever our generation there are mean kids around to make other kids miserable.
How we act with other kids, determines a lot of our happiness when we are in our pre-teenage and teenage years. We crave acceptance, to be part of the crowd. We want to fit in. The validation we receive from our peers makes us feel good; it makes us cool. It makes us feel as if we belong somewhere. Once we come to University or College we find there are many types of groups and friends for everyone to hang out with in classes, sports, campus events, campus clubs, going out at night, and many other events.
Having a large group of friends was a lot of fun for me. I could be my quiet self but I could also get my fix of crazy. This was especially important in University as an outlet for the stress caused by taking five courses at a time, working part-time, and being involved in campus life. It was a miracle to party on the weekends, to drink and forget stress. It was a relief to have fun with friends and meet new people. It made me feel that I could handle stuff in the week because on the weekend I was a wild girl who didn’t have to be responsible. There were bad points about my style of life such as friends who became angry or cried a lot when they were drunk. Also, there were boys we hurt or hurt us when feelings weren’t returned after the weekend party was over. The binge drinking wasn’t the smartest either.
Since, I went on disability from work seven or eight years ago, being with my friends has taken on new meaning beyond school. I enjoy conversations one on one more; I concentrate better. But I love anytime my friends and I can give each other over a coffee or tea. I like that we can go to events that have drinking but I also like that we go to events that are not drinking events. I enjoy going over to a friend’s place and having a glass of wine, or having friends over to my house for wine; but I like Wine Tastings too. My friends and I have gone on vacations together and learned a lot about dealing with each others differences. We have house parties and we play card games and board games. There is still conversation about comparison of classes but they we are for self-improvement and for job education. We have seen ourselves going from young twenty somethings to adults who are around thirty and becoming married, having kids, and moving into houses and condos. We share advice with each other and support each other. Sometimes we help babysit. Sometimes we just listen to a friend who is dealing with a ‘real life issue.’ We are vital to each other because people need a support network in life, and family and friends are a part of that network. We need our friends to help us get through ill health, and love us even when we are ill or being a bad friend. We need advice when it comes to choosing someone we want to spend our lives with, or a portion of our lives. We need to listen to each other and give that gift of understanding, despite our own opinions. We share about our lives and look forward to times we will see each other again. For these reasons, fun time with friends is vital.
The swirls of the smoke coloured sky, scintillating and swarming as it deepens to ebony, a black blush of thoughts blanketing my mind. This is the evening time of reliving the ravages of day.
I went out into the torrid of the thoughtless crowds, university students sighing and harassed by midterm exams. For a moment I held faith with them as I wrote, before remembering I was someone else.
Caught between two spheres, the adult who should be solidifying her career if not for a fatiguing sickness, and the ever determined student delving deeper into knowledge once she learned the more you know, the more you do not know.
A paradox indeed, that going to school for what seems like a seamless and unending time, has left me the truth: you know nothing even though you’ve been in school since you were six, you only can perceive that a person cannot know all there is to learn; no wisdom here but the air between your ears.
And I pass the swirl of bodies in modern university garb – ankle boots, and pea coats; skinny jeans and knee boots; sweat pants and running shoes. I do remember those days when I wore what they wear. Now I go out, I dress like an adult, classic, I think; but the staff on campus look at me as if I’m a young student, lights dim, it’s nearly been eight years.
But I found through my minds persuasion of lurid purple thoughts and intriguing segways, that there are many paths to knowledge and many ways to gain it; Pathways of pink and plenty into the working world, could be wonderfully convenient one day if I train myself for jobs with adult education.
But for now I’ve accepted to attain the unattainable and focus on one course and apply for a masters, when next spring comes about. I figure that an MFA in creative writing cannot make me know nothing if it’s all fictious because I formed the story myself. I know what I know, especially if I made it up.
Clouds of cotton fluff in the air, sunshine soothing on my face, no wrinkles to create I wear serum with SPF. Still Green grass in October with orange fire and red fire leaves. I walk home, hop on a train, the bus. Hurriedly, pull myself beneath the covers. One day down, sleep in the breath of cold air tonight, arise fresh and freezing to winters bitter blow.