It was September, late September, and the leaves on the old oak were starting to turn, exposing clumps of green mistletoe all up and down the great tree. Leaves were on the ground, surrounding the lawn chair, its red and yellow cushion still strapped on, left over from the departing summer. It sat, waiting, next to the ramshackle pagoda that they had moved from the front garden last spring and plonked smack in the middle of the field behind the house. Early morning sun illuminated the cracked, cream-white walls. The back door was ajar, and inside nothing moved.
The two of them stood by the window for a moment. She wrapped the afghan tighter around her shoulders and said, “Why don’t they ever come out?”
“I don’t know, but I’ve been in there once,” he said, turning to look at her.
“Really? No, I don’t believe you!” She laughed.
“Would I lie to you? Hmm? Come on, I’ll tell you all about it,” he grabbed her cold little hand and they continued down the dimly lit corridor, laughing.
© Maddison Glass 2009
1. That sitting on cold surfaces will cause an illness called ‘the wolf’ (wilk in Polish), which is either a cold or some kind of bladder infection (it was never clarified).
2. Whenever you see a chimneysweep, you have to find a button (either on your person or on somebody else), and hold on to it until you see a person with glasses. This brings good luck. No joke.
3. That the Easter Bunny is one helluva stealthy guy, able to carry bicycles, dolls and chocolates, hide them around the garden, then disappear before anyone has a chance to see him. (Many children around the world have reported sightings but they have been misled: the Easter Bunny is actually an alien, caught and trained by the government to deliver gifts around the world at superhuman speeds. He also does the work of ‘Santa Claus’.*)
4. That nymphs are beautiful, long-haired ladies who live in lakes and lure boys into the water with their melodious voices. This comes from a childhood spent at lake beaches, and arose as an effort to console me after an ill-disposed cousin shattered my illusion that mermaids exist by informing me that mermaids are salt water dwellers, duh!
5. That Michael Jackson is a woman.
*I made up that last part