The bad fairy keeps showing up with stinking teeth and scornful glare. We turn in our soft pastel dresses, back to our teacups.
She stands there in her dirty dress, open to the thigh, wrecking the atmosphere, and we? Suddenly we feel silly and inadequate.
We had cut the roses at dawn, each fragrant fist of pink carried carefully to vases cleaned with vinegar. Where was she then? Sprawled in a ditch? In the backseat of some heap?
Her dirty fingers grab our warm biscuits. All our work for nothing. Her sarcastic laugh turns hopeful watercolors stupid, creations we made over days, vexed but faithful, keeping the edges from bleeding, dabbing messes, or restarting from scratch on stiff blank paper.
Here she is, the one who never looks over the valley, never considers mosses and lichens, green and varied on the trunks and arms of hillside trees, never waits in silence for a deer, too busy telling dirty jokes, looking around for liquor.
The easiest thing is to ignore her, pretend she isn't there, hope she'll go away and won't up-end the table we so carefully prepared.
The hardest is to look her in the eye. And what to say? I wish you'd go away? (Wish you didn't exist.) And if I asked her "What do you want?" not hostilely, what would she say? ‘I want to sit like you at a table and wear pastel’? ‘I want to wreck you and all you stand for’? Is armistice possible? Or will we be picking up broken dishes and ripped napkins, finding another hidden spot to make beautiful as long as we can, thankful she didn't take us by the hair and grind our faces in the ground? Or do we find others like ourselves and build a delicate chain of help?
"Would you like some tea?" I could ask.
"Yeah but I don't need your permission." She tastes. "This sucks," and pours it on the ground.
Maybe forgiveness is in our future. Or maybe we'll sharpen sticks and practice with cudgels, neglect our biscuits, give up making butter and buy it from the store, fashion cowhide armor, leather caps, ugly stiff protection. Maybe our tea parties will be marred by talk of when she’ll come and what she'll wreck and how this can't go on—unless… someone among us, extreme and over the top, packs a basket and seeks her out in her garbage cave…
Someday the bad fairy will age, and we'll hold milky tea to her lips as she raves barely able to flail, her arms thin on the blanket, no longer weapons. And what will she give us? Whispered curses, strands of hair turned white, the miracle of her fight.
I have seen her child mixing mud by the river, putting a teacup back together.