She lay there, between sleep and consciousness. A tiny yawn escaped her mouth and a sigh followed close behind. "Tell me a story," she whispered softly as if she'd reverted to a time when band-aids could make it all better, and the only monsters in this world were the ones battling with the dust bunnies under the bed.
We both knew in the back of our minds that dragons, fairy princess' and happily ever after stopped existing a long time ago, but everyone needs something to hold onto. Right? "What kind of story would you like to hear?"
The smile in her voice was evident when she responded, "Something with a happy ending."
"Okay then." I agreed. "Once upon a time, there was this lonely little blue dragon."
"What was the dragon's name?" She asked.
"What would you like it to be?"
Silence hung in the air for a few moments, then. "How about. . .Laurel?"
"Okay. Once upon a time there was a lonely blue dragon named, Laurel. She was a sad little dragon because the other dragons didn't pay much attention to her at all. They carried on with their little dragon lives, almost oblivious to her existence."
"Mean old dragons." She pouted.
"One day, the sad blue dragon was flying around alone in the sky when she landed on top of a large cliff. This wasn't any ordinary cliff, either. This was her special cliff, where she went to think and look at all of the beautiful things surrounding her. But today, she couldn't seem to find any beauty in the world because she was especially sad."
"Why was she so sad?"
"Well, the little blue dragon had lost many, many treasures in her life recently. She hadn't noticed the way the other dragons treated her before, because she had her treasures to keep her happy. But now the treasures were gone and unable to be replaced, ever. And it made her very sad that she'd never see them again."
"This is a very sad story."
"Not for long." I smiled. "So, Laurel the dragon sat on her cliff and looked out on the world below. She was so sad, that she began to cry red dragon tears, which are the saddest tears of all."
"Then, out of the blue, a green dragon much like the other dragons in dragon land, flew over and sat down next to Laurel. 'Why so sad?', the green dragon asked.
'I have lost my treasures,' Laurel replied, 'And I'm never going to get them back.'
'What's so important about them?' asked the green dragon.
Laurel's little dragon eyes went wide at such a ridiculous question. 'What's so important? What's so important?! They were my treasures, I worked hard for them, I earned them, and now they are gone. I'll never get them back.' She shook her head, sadly.
The green dragon nodded her head in understanding. 'I've lost my treasure, too, but I was able to find more treasure, and that made me happy.'
Laurel looked at the little green dragon as if she were crazy. 'But treasure is irreplaceable. You'll never get back what you had before. And what if the new treasure is faulty? Or tarnished? Then what?'
Kirby thought long and hard about these questions.
"Kirby?" She asked.
"Yes," I smiled.
"That's my favorite name!" She said excitedly.
"Is it now?" I smiled knowingly. "So, Kirby thought long and hard about these questions the blue dragon had posed to her. She knew very well that the blue dragon was smart and brave, and that she couldn't trick her. 'I don't want what I had before,' Kirby finally said. 'Don't get me wrong, I loved my treasures and valued them and tried to keep them safe and they made me very happy.' She smiled her little dragon smile. 'But I lost them, and it wasn't my fault and there wasn't anything I could do. I was just as sad as you are now.'
'What's the point?' Laurel asked, disheartened. She didn't think the green dragon was doing a very good job of cheering her up.
'The point is, that while I was sad to lose my treasure, when I found new treasure I was happy again. It wasn't the same as the treasure I had before. It was much different. So different, in fact, that it couldn't be compared to anything.' She looked over at the sad little blue dragon and put her paw on her shoulder. 'You see my little blue friend, just because the treasure I have now isn't like the treasure I had before, doesn't mean that it holds less value. It just means that I've moved on, and made room for new treasure, and I can love it fully and completely and with all my heart without worries of the old treasure coming back and getting jealous.'
'That's because they mean different things to me. It means my ability to love has increased because I've discovered something so different from before that I never knew I was missing until it came into my life. I didn't know I needed it until it was right in front of me.'
Kirby the green dragon remained silent for a while and let the blue dragon absorb all that she'd said. They sat there for a long time, looking out onto the world, which seemed so very small from where they were.
'But I'm different.' Laurel the dragon said softly. 'I'm not like the other dragons and they don't like me because I'm different and I don't know why you stayed here with me. . .but I am grateful.' She peered up at Kirby from under her great big dragon eyelashes. 'My treasure was all I had.'
'One dragon's treasure, is another dragon's trash.' Kirby said finally. 'You're unique from other dragons, and that's not a bad thing. It's just different. I'm different too. That doesn't mean I'm worth any less to the dragons who think I'm a treasure.'
'There aren't any dragons that think I'm a treasure.' Laurel remarked, dejectedly.
'What? I don't count?' Kirby quirked her little dragon eyebrow up.
'You?' Laurel said. 'You hardly know me.'
'And that's what makes you a treasure.' Kirby stated. 'Because I don't know you, it makes me want to know you, and that makes you a treasure that I'll get to open up a little bit more each day. I'll be able to discover different and surprising things about you that I didn't know yesterday. That is, if you'll let me?'
The little blue dragon's expression changed from one of despair and heartache, to that of understanding. 'So you mean that just because I'm not a treasure to other dragons, doesn't mean that I'm not a treasure to you?'
The green dragon smiled. 'Yes, that's what I mean.'
The blue dragon smiled and looked down at the ground, suddenly feeling very shy. 'Would you? I mean, could you possibly? Umm. . .'
"What did she ask? What was it?" She asked, trying to be excited. But the truth was that she was very sleepy and the story would have to be wrapped up quickly.
"I'm getting there." I mock scolded. "Be patient."
"Meanie." She pouted
"Now, where was I?" I paused dramatically for a moment. "Oh yeah, the blue dragon wanted to say what was on her mind so badly, but she was afraid. Afraid of rejection and being hurt badly again, so she trailed off. 'Never mind.' She whispered and shook her head..
The green dragon knew what she wanted to say, because it was the same thing she felt. 'Could I maybe, I mean if you think I'm good enough and all. . .well, do you think that maybe, I could be your treasure?' She asked.
The blue dragon's eyes lit up. 'Oh, yes. I would love to have you as my treasure, that is, well. . .'
'And you shall be mine.' Kirby stated with finality.
"Yay!" she exclaimed through a yawn, and I just had to laugh.
'Really? You mean it honestly and truly?' Laurel asked.
'Honestly and truly with all of my dragon heart.' Kirby swore.
'Wonderful.' Laurel sighed in relief and hugged the little green dragon very tightly.
'Everything is now, yes.' The green dragon smiled as she hugged her back. 'I have to agree.'
"And they lived happily ever after in dragon land. The end." Even as the words left my mouth, I knew she was sleeping soundly.
It's funny how, you go through life, day after day, without a change in routine. You just struggle and carry on, hoping to leave an indelible mark in this world, instead of an annoying stain. Some succeed, and others don't. You think to yourself, 'this is the way it's supposed to be and always has been.'
The by some stroke of fate, someone enters your life that wasn't there yesterday. Someone that turns everything upside down and backwards. You don't know what's right, or left or up and down. You don't know much of anything anymore. But one thought keeps repeating itself in your mind like a broken record, 'Where were you two months ago? Or two years? Or even five?'
Fighting to find the answer won't do you any good because you know deep down inside what it is already. That person meant nothing to you. You didn't even know they existed, but that's okay. You don't feel bad about it because it's not a horribly wrong thing that they meant nothing. It just means that maybe you weren't ready for them yet, you weren't prepared. You had to go through, what ever you went though, to be ready for them to enter your life.
Everything we do leads us to where we are, where we're meant to be. I'm meant to be right here, existing in this moment, opening my treasure slowly and savoring every moment of surprise and wonder. Experience has shown that all acquaintances are passing. We must make the best of what we have now because in the larger scheme of things, this may be just a fleeting moment in a wider expanse of time.
If we're lucky, we discover a treasure that we'll be able to open and revel in every day for the rest of our lives. If not, we must learn to treasure what we do have now, because not knowing how long it will last, makes it that much more precious.
I look over to where she
lay, asleep peacefully. A smile crawls slowly across my lips and
I know it must change my entire appearance. She has that ability
to do that. Change me. In ways, I never thought possible.
But isn't that what it's all about? You never know what you're missing
until it's right in front of your face. "Sleep well, my treasure."
I whisper. "Sleep well."