Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fire Fairy Reunion

Five years last July, five friends and I got together for Jesse's birthday sleepover. We were all highly fun, highly naive, and highly imaginative. After presents and hot dogs and a birthday craft, we went outside to play with sparklers. Being who we were, it was only a matter of time before the activity demanded an imaginary game.

As we danced around in the warm summer darkness, waving our sparkling sticks of fire, the idea came to all of us at once:

Fire fairies!

We spent the first several minutes deciding on names, always a very important part of an imaginary game.

I claimed the named Ember right off.
Jesse picked Flare.
Zooey called Sparkle.
Haley said Comet {which makes me laugh now, Halley's Comet...}

We helped Ellie decide on Star Dancer and Sarah come up with Flicker.

We played with our fiery wands and let the story evolve on its own. We found out that we had the ability to create fireballs with our hands, and fire shields could emerge from our fingertips.

When it got too late to play outside, we took the game indoors. We brought in the candle we'd used to light the sparkles, falling into a single file line to get through the door.

"We're going to worship the Fire Lord," I said. "He's evil."

That was met with unanimous enthusiasm.

The game kept going the whole sleepover. We gave each other ages and relationships with each other, and even gave Jesse's brother a role: he was Coal, the Fire Lord's most trusted spy.

The next day I started to write the story down. It had potential, I decided, and the game had gone in some directions that I didn't like and I wanted a chance to make it the way I thought it should be. I also didn't like the name "Star Dancer" so I changed Ellie's name to Firefly.

I told Ellie and Jesse that I was writing "the fire fairy story." They thought that was awesome, but none of us really put much stock in each others' writing at that point. We were 8 {Zooey}, 9 {Haley and Sarah}, 11 {Jesse} and 12 {me and Ellie} and never finished anything. But it was still fun.

I would write chapters of the story and consult my friends often. We inserted all kinds of real-life scenarios such as my crush on Jesse's brother and a fight some of us had. My little red notebook filled with fire fairy adventures and embarrassing heart doodles featuring the name "Coal." The excitement built and built until one night at church band practice when I saw the fireball at the end of the tunnel.

I knew the ending.

I scribbled furiously, hand cramping, brain going into overdrive. down...

It was finished.

I had finished it.

I had actually finished a story! And it was the fire fairy story! OUR story!

We all read it, time and time again, tweaking it, erasing pieces of it, and eventually typing it up. But I missed the fire fairies; it felt like a part of me was empty when I stopped writing them.

So I didn't.

With the constant help of Ellie, Jesse and Sarah, I wrote a sequel, and then a third volume, and then a fourth adventure. They all connected, they all intertwined, and eventually an overarching plot line emerged.

We wrote so much of ourselves into the story that it became more than just a game, more than just a story. It was another dimension of ourselves. It's hard to explain. The story was like a film that we saw the rest of life through. Sometimes the lines between fact and fiction were blurred, and it wasn't uncommon for us to accidentally call each other our fire fairy names. For the next three years, 50% of our souls were made up of mechanical pencil lead and tattered red One Subjects.

Then we all went our separate ways and things faded out a bit. We still talk; we're still very close; we never had a falling out. But it's different now, because we don't see each other as much, even though we all live relatively close.

This year Ellie and I are seniors. We're getting ready to jump into the world full-force, and we are so not ready for that. College is coming whether we like it or not, and after that...who knows? This is the biggest, most exciting and terrifying transition we've ever undergone, and we'll be leaving behind Sarah and Jesse.

So we've decided to have a fire fairy reunion tonight. Just one last time for sure, we're gonna go to Goodwill and piece together Fire Fairy costumes. We're gonna play with sparklers. We're gonna eat hot dogs. We're gonna listen to the music we loved back then.

And we're gonna read the stories.

The time comes when everyone has to grow up. But I honestly believe that a small part of you never should.

Here's to the fire fairies :)



  1. This post made me SO nostalgic :) We never play like we did when we were kids, making up games and rules as we went along, assigning characters and finding the most thrilling adventures from practically nothing. I envy you getting to read stories you wrote back then. That sounds so nice, and I think that was a great idea to do that with your friends.

  2. :D I wish we could keep doing it all our lives...but it really just wouldn't work. It'd be weird XD Maybe I'll post excepts of the story during NaNo.