Brian Froud’s The Pook
“You can almost always find chains of coincidence to disprove magic. That’s because it doesn’t happen the way it does in books. It makes those chains of coincidence. That’s what it is. It’s like if you snapped your fingers and produced a rose but it was because someone on an aeroplane had dropped a rose at just the right time for it to land in your hand. There was a real person and a real aeroplane and a real rose, but that doesn’t mean the reason you have the rose in your hand isn’t because you did the magic…. …It’s harder to get a grip on than if it did work the way it does in stories. And it’s much easier to dismiss, you can dismiss all of it if you have a skeptical turn of mind because there always is a sensible explanation. It always works through things in the real world, and it’s always deniable. — Jo Walton, Among Others
So last Tuesday, I totally saw a faery sitting on my nightstand. And I’m not even joking. You might be thinking I’m joking because you don’t know me very well. In fact, there are only three people in the world who I could say this to and they would not only know I am not joking, but they would also know I am not making this shit up. And none of them include my blood relatives. Although I bet my almost 2 year old son would believe me, because I’m pretty sure he sees them, too.
And the cats. Well that part’s a lie. I have two cats, but only one of them ever seems to see the same things that I see and responds to them. Which brings out a whole new questions about psychic functioning in the animal kingdom.
But I digress.
It was around midnight. I went upstairs. And when I turned on the light, there he was (not all faeries are gendered, but I got a distinct vibe from this one). I thought about drawing him because he looked similar to Brian Froud’s pook, but he was in a sitting pose, with his arms folded around his knees, and his head was slung over his knee-tops in what I can only describe as faery way (because it seems impossible to accomplish, even if you were in Cirque de Soleil). He was large for a faery. Sitting the way he was, he as long as my cat sitting up properly in a normal cat-like way. But skinny. Spindly, really. He stayed the longest of almost any faery I have seen. Which means close to 30 seconds. Maybe even a full minute. As I changed into my pajamas and climbed into bed, he did straighten up somewhat and watched me more intently than I was watching him. At this point, he was an arm’s reach away. I could have reached out and touched him. I turned my head to reach for the blankets and when I turned back, he was gone.
And there was a black rock, which he had been sitting on, left on my nightstand.
I told my husband about what happened. We’ve lived in this house for two and a half years and I haven’t seen a faery yet. When I showed him the rock, I asked him if he recognized it and he said he didn’t. I said it seemed familiar for some reason, but I couldn’t quite remember. Like, the memory of this particular black rock was on the top of my brain, but was just out of reach. Brad said he felt similarly. Like he should know this rock, but didn’t.
My husband is a chemist, by the way, and he’s married to someone who sees faeries. And he believes me because he knows I’m not joking about this. And every once in a while, I’ll have these pieces of tangible evidence that are otherwise inexplicable: a black rock appears as if from nowhere on my nightstand; the dagger that I had carefully, and fully intentionally packed in my checked luggage, mysteriously appears in my carry-on at the airport instead. Yeah, that situation was not fun to explain. It’s one of the two times I felt as though I might faint, the other time was when my mom told me she had cancer and three months to live. “I’m a pagan. That’s an athame. It’s part of my religion. I thought I packed it in my checked luggage.” I don’t say that I know packed it there.
It ended up costing me $125. But at least I’m not on a Do Not Fly or a watch list. (At least that I know of.)
There are always ways to “explain” situations like the black rock. You could say my toddler found it and put it there. I would say no, because there was a foot of snow outside, we hadn’t gone outside in days because it was too cold (not to mention, he couldn’t even play in the backyard, and if he could, we don’t have rocks like this here), and there are no other rocks that he can get to, ya know, inside the house.
You could say I’m lying. And that’s your choice. I’m not expecting anyone to believe me. But this is my reality.
You could say it’s a particular cocktail of chemicals or hormones in my brain that create hallucinations, and I couldn’t disprove that. In fact, maybe my brain isn’t like everyone else.
But I know these aren’t hallucinations, or dissociative identity disorder (which I was really afraid of for a while, but a psychiatrist assured me that this was not the case); maybe it’s precisely the weird wiring or cocktail of hormones in my brain that allow me to see these things.
How do I know?
Because after five months of hospital stays and treatment, my mom was suddenly “misdiagnosed.”
She had never had cancer.
Even though a year earlier, she had pre-cancer stage cervival cells. Even though when she was in her 20s, she had melanoma.
I asked my concept of God and the faeries to heal her. I then had hundreds of people pray for her.
I also know because I met my husband. My grandmother, who had been a witch in her youth, after the prison stint of course, predicted that I would meet my husband by writing letters without knowing each other. She told me this years before either of us knew about the Internet. And I asked the faeries to help me recognize my soul mate and to prepare my heart to be open to him (or her) then one of my best friends, with whom I chatted online, told me he loved me a month later.
And I know this because of my son. Because I saw him and been expecting him for almost ten years before he arrived.
There are perfectly acceptable, logical ways to explain all of this.
But it doesn’t mean the reason I have the black rock in my hand isn’t because I did the magic, or saw the faeries.
In fact, I am looking for my camera to take a picture of the black rock and can’t find my camera. Maybe I shouldn’t be posting this.
But I’m going to anyway.