Nobody knows that I come here at night, every night; nobody even cares enough to notice. I sneak out of my uncle’s cabin before he is even asleep, while he is still sitting like a fat drooling dog in front of the TV drinking his tenth beer. He doesn’t care about me, he barely even knows my name, but he loves my mother and would do anything for her. Uncle Earl adopted me every summer for the past three years while Mother went on “work trips,” which is code for her going on tropical cruises and getting shitfaced with boys who are closer to my age than hers. This summer though she didn’t come back to get me. She sent a text to Earl telling him about her “new young love, we are moving to Greece, tell Amy to study hard.” That was it. No I love you, no goodbyes, just study hard. Fat lot of good that did. Earl forgot to register me for school this year. He messed up his leg a few years ago working construction, and since then he’s been living off disability claiming that his leg never healed right. He sits day in and day out in front of his static-y TV in his tiny three-roomed cabin in the middle of the woods.
Most people my age find the woods a terrible and forsaken place. I think it’s magical–the soft carpet of the emerald moss that curls around my bare toes as I bound away from Earl’s place, the sweet rainbow leaves that blow all about in the wind and tickle my face
I found this place at the beginning of my third summer dumped at Earl’s. That first day was the only day he was sober, just to impress his sister. As soon as she left he chugged five beers and retreated to his chair, forever imprinted with his walrus butt.
When I was sure that he was good and drunk, I went exploring. I was traveling along a path in the woods when I tripped on a root, got caught in indigo vines and crashed into a clearing, smacking my head on the ground. I have no idea how long I was unconscious for, but when I finally awoke, little cobalt lights darted into the trees. I untangled myself from the vines and gasped. How had I never seen this part of the woods before? The leaves on all of the trees surrounding the clearing were a brilliant red, a velvety red sort of like that of blooming roses, but warmer. The tall grass, which was softer than the moss and logically should not have even existed in this shaded space, reached a shade of green to rival a jade stone, the same kind that was on the ring Dad was buried with. All openings in the trees were obscured by the indigo vines I was caught in.
I lie in the middle of this field now, as I have every night since the day I found it. I lay here and I watch the cobalt lights flitter about. Because they are not just lights, they are creatures. They float through the air and live in the red trees. They dance in the grass to the sound of the stars. They have grown accustomed to my presence; in fact I think they have begun to look forward to my visits. They look like fairies but they are not, they may not even be alive. I thought they were until the day three of them floated straight through my stomach. I didn’t even feel them, I just watched them enter from my front and leave out the back. As I lie here they swarm in and around me. One has placed herself on the tip of my nose. She is eerily beautiful. My little lights, that’s what I call them, and they respond to it so they must like it. They have accepted me and care for me and provide me with warmth even on the coldest of nights. Maybe one day I will be able to join them, flitting about without a care in the world, becoming a little cobalt light myself. Until that day comes I will continue to sit here and watch them.
Melissa Mason is a senior English major at UMass Amherst with a specialization in Creative Writing. She plans to enter the world of publishing as an editor but her ultimate goal is to be a fantasy novelist.
Photo credit: Flowers under blue light. Photograph. Britannica ImageQuest. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 25 May 2016.
http://quest.eb.com/search/132_1185781/1/132_1185781/cite. Accessed 17 Oct 2016.