Thursday, May 11, 2006

Performance; The day after my 8th birthday.......

The day after my 8th birthday my father told me that it was time to put away my childish belief in fairies and Santa Claus, and to "look the real world in the face."

I looked him in the face and, probably for the first time in my short life, I actually saw him as he really was, approaching middle age, with a worn face, sad eyes and the hint of a paunch where his once slim waist had been. I remember thinking that if I was no longer able to believe in fairies and Santa, what could I believe in? Was the only reality the "observed" physical world? Of course I did not have the vocabulary with which to express myself so I performed my usual childs trick of bursting into tears, and throwing myself at my father bodily, shouted,
"Who is going to bring me my Xmas presents then? What happens when I lose a tooth - will the tooth fairy stop coming to visit? And anyway what about all my books that have pictures of fairies in them - are they ALL lies? Is everything a lie?"

What I really meant was - if you have been keeping the truth from me, how can I begin to believe in you now, and what can I trust? My mother continued to treat me as a child. When we visited Bodnant Gardens one early summer day she told me that if we were in a quiet part of the garden I should keep my eyes open and if I was lucky I might see a fairy there. Nevertheless, part of my child self grew up the day of my father's revalation, and I began to hide my beliefs, because as most children know and many adults forget, there is real magic in the world, and Santa does exist - theres a Santa in every store come Xmas after all!!

I began noticing other images. My child's book of bible stories contained images of beings with wings. I was told that these were angels. It was apparently not childish to believe in angels and there were different kinds of angels, some good and some bad. This I understood quite clearly, after all there were good and bad fairies. I once tried to discuss the matter of angels with my father but he told me I was confusing imagination with religion and that he would explain everything when I was older. I decided to accept that angels or fairies existed in some form and agreed to wait until I was older for a proper explanation.

When I was nine, my father grew very sick. My mother nursed him through long pain filled nights and endless misery filled days. We did not know whether my Dad would live or die. One night I awoke to hear my mother sobbing quietly and murmuring
"Don;t go dear, don't go yet , hang on please."

I climbed out of bed and stood in the doorway to their room. I saw his ashen face, her tear filled eyes, and in the corner of the room I thought I saw a tall winged figure with a dark cloak. I could not be certain of this, because I could also see the wall behind the figure.
"Its the angel of death come for my dad," I thought. The image was so powerful that I knew it to be true. I took a deep breath and shouted as loudly as I could
"Please please good fairies, I believe in you all whatever and whoever you are. Please come and help my dad who is not bad even though he must have killed a lot of you by saying you don;t exist. Please come and help us all."
I thought I heard the sound of bells ringing in the distance, the room was filled with starlight, the darkeness vanished and the dark being dissolved.

When I woke up the following morning my mother came in with a smile on her tired face.
"Your father was so ill in the night," she explained "but I think the worst is over." She looked serene.

I tiptoed into my father's room and placed my small hand into his hand.
"Good morning little angel," he said gently opening his eyes to look at me. "I had such a strange dream last night and I'm sure I heard bells ringing....When I woke up this morning I felt so much better. " He looked at me quizzically. "I thought I heard your voice shouting as well my little love." His hand reached out and he stroked my hair gently, and a smile spread over his pale face.

I don't know how or if a miracle occurred. I do know that I have always lived knowing that there is more to life than the physically observed world. Who after all can say where the line between reality and dream or illusion (or even delusion) might lie? And maybe, just maybe, the fierce love of a child for her father was enought to stay his execution that long ago night.


At 1:22 PM, Blogger The Gate Keeper said...

This really touched me..

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Heather Blakey said...

On many levels this touched me. I am too choked to write much but I must say I saw fairies at Bodnant Gardens. Bodnant is a fairy world tucked in Wales that I will never forget.

At 10:10 PM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

I loved this piece, and I believe there is truth in it. Everything is about perception, and how we see things. Love to see the Bodnant Gardens one day, Heather & Sara, sounds divine. There is also that great film "Miracle on 34th Street" about whether Santa Claus is real or not, and it is a brilliant film for kids and adults alike, and you can't argue with the outcome, which is in favour of believing in things we can't actually see, but can sense:-)

At 4:16 AM, Blogger faucon of Sakin'el said...

The is such a difference between 'believing' and 'knowing'. Many people profess to belief in a future life, or other realms of knowledge. By 'knowing' this -- you have been able to shape your future. Faith can move mountains, but if it is only based on believing it cannot be more impactful than the power of the human person you allow to be a witness for you; and all books, sermons, stories and teaching are nothing more than a statement of an opinion by that person about their beliefs and knowledge. You were fortunate to gain some 'knowing' at an early age.


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