Spring in Their Step
Everything under the sun is hiding away.
“Even though it's not that cold,” I mutter, puffs of clouds rising from my breath.
I would liken today's weather to a small animal’s nipping bites. She's already full, but doesn't know any other way to live except to continue eating.
This grey chill seems to seep into your bones the longer you stay out. But when my eyes are closed, I can feel the sunlight. Its caress is warm and gentle. Light seeps through my eyelids even when they're closed, causing striking golden patterns and shapes to form.
So, just like this stubborn creature, winter simply doesn't know when to give up. The flowers are all withered, but I still poke around the colorless leaves and stems.
Thinking about the Winter Court, I wonder if it's possible to bargain with them and ask to make next year a little warmer... Then mommy will come out to play with me.
The mounds of dead growth a few meters away move a bit.
Whoa, no way! Did I seriously summon the Winter Court? I-I was just joking, they're really scary. Please go back. Pleading silently with my eyes shut, I hear the rustling get closer and closer.
A heartbeat of silence, then two.
I gradually open my eyes. A tuft of brown hair and wide, moss irises peer up at me from the dead flowers and frost.
"H-Hello," I stutter out.
Little stumps peek through a mess of fluffy hair.
Small flecks of white freckles sprinkle throughout his face, mostly concentrating on his cold-pink nose. His eyes are so round and droopy, that I can't help but lower my guard.
"Hi..!" He squeaks with a flittingly nervous voice. "I'm Crescia. What's... What's your name? Where are your antlers? Oh. Are you a Human? Wow, you're so shiny and warm. I don't think I've ever seen a Human like you before." He suddenly bounds up from the decay. He's around the same size as I am.
I feel myself break into another cold sweat. This barrage of questions... What do I answer first?
"My name is Aeriea Newlyn."
"Oh, that's a pretty name," He fidgets about.
"What about you? What are you?"
"I don't really know what you mean? I'm Crescia."
Giggling, I clarify, "What's your species? Are you part of the Fairfolk?"
Crescia tilts his head questioningly, "I'm part of a n-noda-mic tribe. We wander around and bring spring to beautiful hills and gardens!"
"Ohhh! That sounds lovely! But I think the word is pronounced nomadic, Crescia."
Flushing, he nods in embarrassment.
"Is there a name for your tribe?"
"I guess we're called family." He sits back down and hides his face in the pile of grey leaves.
"Hehe, that's not a name but what you do with your family sounds nice."
He suddenly bounds up again, his face lit with excitement. "Right! We make flowers bloom everywhere! It's really great!"
So blindingly pure!
Quickly recovering, I smile, "How old are you? I'm seven years of age or seven constellation-cycles if that makes more sense."
He suddenly sits back down, only his antlers peeking through this time.
H-huh? Oh no, is he embarrassed that he doesn't know so many things I'm asking him?
"Mrmm, I'm a young one."
A... Young one?
"I'll be a strong one soon though, and then I'll be a wise one in the blink of an eye. Well, that's what the other wise ones tell us anyways."
Is that how Crescia's tribe measures age? I couldn't help but smile at the difference. But even still, it's... Interesting. I wonder how else we're different, yet similar?
"I can't wait to be a strong one, they can do so many things! Like a trail of flowers follow and bloom behind them wherever they walk! Their voices are the strongest too!"
His excitement is contagious and I can't help but be swept up by his smile. "By the way, what did you mean earlier when you said I'm warm and shiny?"
"Hmm, maybe that wasn't the right way to describe it," He tilts his head. Somehow this motion causes the dry leaves to flick up and down, crunching sounds crackle around us and snow flurries in the air because of this. "You have this feeling like a-" He pauses, "Like a frozen lake."
That sounds like an insult...
"But when warm wind blows and the sun begins to shine, the ice thaws. The lake is cold, but... Refreshing from the sunlight. Does... Does that make sense?"
"Not at all," I shoot point-blank.
He buries his face under his hands and snow-strewn leaves with a crunch.
"Also, If the ice just melts, I don't think refreshing is the right word for it." I mumble, "Have you gone into a just-thawed lake before?"
"Mhmm," His response comes from under the leaves.
"You must have a stronger temperature resistance compared to Humans."
I bury underneath too even though it's really cold! Clearing the leaves between us, I can finally see his face again. I smile and ask, "Can we be friends, Crescia?"
"Yes!" He hops up and down in excitement.
You-! I'm still underneath here!
Cough, spit. "Ptoo! Argghhh why you! There's leaves and dirt in my mouth now!" Gagging and pouting, an idea pops into my head.
"AHHHHRRRR!" I roar angrily with my hands shaped as claws.
Instead of being scared, he breaks into laughter. "Hahaha! Are you trying to be a bear, Aeriea?"
Sulking a bit, I bury myself back under the leaves. "It's colddd."
"O-Oh, did I say something bad? Sorry, uhm... I can tell what a lovely and lively garden this is. And since we're friends, I'll make them bloom a little earlier for you! So don't be sad, okay?"
He begins rhythmically clicking his tongue in an odd, but oddly soothing way. After a bit, he takes a deep breath and clear notes ring out.
The slates of dead flowers, leaves, and snow suddenly blow away from above me. The cracked and dried dirt soften, as if freshly rained-upon. Plentiful sprouts gracefully bud out of the soil. Pop pop pop! They make a cute sound as the stems reach for the sky.
Wow... His voice is so beautiful.
At the height of his pitch, the swell of his crescendo, the very apex of his song - Every petal blooms in unison, some fluttering in the frosty wind.
We had grown up so differently, yet all it took was a single moment for our understandings to intertwine. And at that moment, I realize the meaning behind his earlier words - Comparing me to a frozen lake, thawed by warm wind and startling sunshine. I'm sure what he meant is what I'm feeling now.
Crescia's voice is like the sound of spring.