By Ila Bhattacharjee
8th grade, Buzz Aldrin Middle School

Down in the thicket, right below the train tracks where the drying creek ran softly throughout the day, was a handcrafted fairy house, covered in shrubbery. It was crafted out of brittle wood and rocks, glued together with mud and garnished with grass garlands and browning flower petals along with glass shards for windows. It was filled with cloth scrap blankets, and stones for the bed frame. What had once been a pile of earth was now a pretty little fairy house. Sun dappled the roof during daytime, and it shone brightly in the moonlight during the night, or so those who made it and played by it imagined. Every morning, it was filled with new treats for the “fairies,” like biscuits or cookies, perhaps even a candy if they were feeling generous. And miraculously, by morning, the goodies would be gone. Sometimes the walls would have fallen, too, but would be quickly put back in place once more. Suspicious looking squirrel prints surrounded the house too, but these were brushed off quickly and ignored.

The fairy house would be buried in snow on occasion, but once winter departed, the strewn around sticks would be rebuilt and decorated with browned leaves and dewy grass tips.

Weekday afternoons, or weekend mornings, an abundance of children would come and gaze over at the house, then fix and re-adjust what needed to be fixed and re-adjusted. Then, as their short attention faded, they would leave the small secluded area back into the main park and frolic amongst others, perhaps playing ball or hopping from one hand-drawn hopscotch square to another.

The fairy house was always well taken care of. But inevitably, time passed, and when time passes, people change. The enthusiasm for fairies and things like that grew less and less as time progressed, until the thought of a “fairy” was just a silly figment of a child’s imagination.

Soon, the fairy house’s petal curtains browned, sticks and branches crumbled, and the pretty hand-woven grass garlands fell, then rolled away, never to be seen again. And the biscuits and treats were never laid on the doorstep anymore. The roof caved in on itself, and what once was a fairy house was just a pile of neglected sticks, mud and earth once more.

And in winter, the cloth and rock beds were covered in snow and buried beneath the earth. But this time, nobody came back to pick them up. Nobody came back to rebuild the fairy house, like had always been done. Perhaps they had forgotten about their creation, or perhaps they didn’t care anymore. Maybe it was just a distant memory, floating around with other ones from years ago.

After a while, they never showed up again, and the fading memory of a “fairy house” lost itself in irrelevancy. Their silly old creation, which was once the most important thing in the world to them, had now lost its charm.

But that’s what always happens, and always will. Some things just get left behind, in a vast array of memories. Perhaps it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps one day, someone new will find those lost sticks and branches and with mud and leaves turn them into something of their liking.

But until then, the withered grass garlands and bits of cloth, and petal curtains, wherever they are, will stay  put. And the fairy house that once stood down in the thicket, right below the train tracks, where the drying creek ran throughout the day, will remain a pile of earth once more.