Nixie, the little pixie, sat on a rock with her feet dangling in the water, splashing her toes around. As always, she was lost in her thoughts.
By the age of seven, she had already learned to repress her emotions. Her baby-years were full of tantrums that her parents dealt with by throwing her into a dark cave and not letting her come back out again until she was calm. Nixie worried, if her own parents were unable to handle her, then how would her future husband ever be able to?
One time in particular, around the age of one, their little hut had been infested with insects. Nixie was laying in her little crib made of straw when a swarm of bugs came and attacked. They crawled all over her body and bit practically every inch of her skin. She cried out the entire night, but no one came to help. Her parents assumed, just another one of her tantrums… But when they woke up the next morning, they were shocked and disturbed to see red bumps all over their baby’s teeny body!
It was moments like that when Nixie questioned if she was real or not, if her pain was real or not, or if reality was something that was only in her head. The rest of her life would be full of hallucinations — she would see a rock and assume it was a spider, or she would see an actual spider and wonder if it was really a rock.
The bright side of being the youngest was that as all her older siblings left for school, and her daddy left to go hunting, she got to stay home and hang out with her mommy. But her mommy was still always too busy for her. Every time she asked to play together, her mom replied, “I’m too busy!” Too busy? Nixie didn’t understand why she was too busy.
It seemed like the only time they got to spend together was when she got dragged around doing errands with her, such as going out into the woods and foraging for mushrooms, or heading into center town to make a trade.
One day, little three-year old Nixie was fed up with her mommy’s distance. So when she told her to come along with her to pick mushrooms together, Nixie refused. Instead, she sat in the corner of their straw hut with her arms crossed, her nose in the air, and told her, “I’m too busy of that.”
Nixie’s younger years were all about trying to keep up with everyone else. She tried so hard to fit in with her siblings, but they were all so much older and smarter! They would be having witty discussions, and when Nixie attempted to chime in with a clever remark, they just laughed at her with pity.
Seeing how no one could take her seriously, Nixie quickly realized her place in the family. She was the entertainer. If she wanted to get her family’s attention, she would have to put on a great show. Nixie started taking dance lessons at age three. From then on, she would gather everyone around as she stood on a large boulder — it was her stage. With all eyes on her, she sang and danced for everyone, putting on performances as everyone clapped and cheered!
Nixie could also use having older siblings to her advantage. At four years old, she attended a daycare program three days a week. One day, she requested instead of her mommy or older sister Maria picking her up, that Beck would come and pick her up.
Unsure why, Beck agreed to come and meet all of Nixie’s peers. All of their eyes widened when they saw how old he was, and how his height completely towered over them. Although Beck was a wee pixie, he was still largest compared to the toddlers.
“See!” Nixie exclaimed, pointing to Beck, “I told you I have an older brother who’s big like a daddy! No one believed me!”
And they all stared at the sixteen-year old boy in total awe.
Normally Nixie was very shy around her peers, but standing next to someone who was so much bigger than her gave her confidence and a sense of power and intimidation.
Nixie loved impressing people. Oddly enough, she looked forward to doctor appointments, anticipating her doctors (the shamans) gushing about how fantastic her health was. Even more odd was how much Nixie enjoyed her elementary school days. She loved taking tests, knowing they would always come back with an A+, a gold star, and a proud smile on her teacher’s face.
Coming home from school one day during the second grade, she told her family, “good news! We have a surprise spelling test tomorrow!” She smiled, “but bad news,” she sighed with disappointment, “our numerology test was canceled…”
And everyone laughed with amusement.
Some nights, before dinner was ready, Nixie would sneak out of the hut when no one was looking. And then, she would come back with a wig on and pretend to be a visitor named “Madeline.” She spent the entire meal in character, never breaking her role. “Who is this lovely child of yours named Nixie?” she asked her parents, “I’d be enchanted to meet her someday!”
During her third year of classes, the pupils played a game called “Seven-Up.” The rules were: everyone puts their head down and thumbs up. A few people are chosen as “it,” who walk around and choose one person’s thumb to push down. And then, those who are “it” stand in line while those who were picked have to guess who pushed their thumb down.
Nixie’s heart was racing when she was that Figg was one of the people who were chosen as “it.” If he pushed her thumb down, she could finally receive the validation that he liked her.
With her head buried down and her thumb sticking up, she felt footsteps coming closer. Someone was walking towards her, but who? And then, she felt someone pushing down on her thumb. Could it be Figg, she wondered? What if I guess it’s him, and it’s actually someone else who picked me? Then he will totally know I have a crush on him, and he’ll laugh at me… I have to know if it’s him, I just have to… And so, trying to be as sneaky as she could, she lifted her head just an inch to see who it was. And then they locked eyes — it was Figg! He chose her! Maybe he really did like her, after all! Nixie’s stomach fluttered with excitement.
Once it was her turn to “guess” who picked her, she immediately pointed to Figg.
But Figg pointed back with accusation and exclaimed, “she peaked! She cheated! She’s a cheater!”
Nixie was absolutely mortified as the teacher screamed, “go sit down! You’re disqualified!”
Nixie was constantly obsessing over Figg in her head. And now that she knew he picked her, she kept feeling like they had a chance together! But he was so embarrassed now, she realized it was her turn to be brave and make the next move.
Figg had five older sisters, who were all friends with Nixie’s older sisters. They had been invited to a party at their house which was located next to a private lake. Nixie begged her older sisters to bring her along, knowing Figg would be there. To her luck, they agreed, but told her she couldn’t hang out with them and would have to stay with Figg — which was perfectly fine with her!
Once she got there, her sisters left her to be alone with Figg. There he was, standing there, looking so cute in his bathing suit. Nixie hoped he adored how she looked in hers. She felt a strong, magnetic energy. It was just the two of them — no classmates watching them or getting in the way. Because of this, much of her social anxiety melted away, and she was actually able to speak to him
“Hi,” they both shyly greeted.
“What do you wanna do?” Figg asked, “play a game?” His voice was soft, almost delicate.
“Yeah, sure!” Nixie eagerly nodded with a grin on her face.
And so, they both jumped into the lake and played swimming games like “who can hold their breath the longest underwater,” and “who can make the biggest splash,” and “who can do the best handstand,” and so on.
Nixie was excited to finally be with him, but she still struggled to speak. She was very quiet. Still nervous, she hoped that he was having fun and didn’t feel forced to be playing with her. She kept losing their games, which was shaking her confidence. She wanted to so badly impress Figg — not have him thinking she was a loser!
So they played another game — a race from one side of the lake to the other.
Figg warned, “don’t push your feet against the edge to get a kickstart — that’s cheating!”
“Ready… Set… Go!”
Nixie waited a moment for Figg to get a head start, and then pushed her feet against the edge when he wasn’t looking, and sped right past him.
“I won!” She cheered.
“Hmm…” He glared at her with skepticism, “are you sure you didn’t cheat?”
“Nope, of course not!” She lied.
“Okay, let’s try again. But this time, I’m watching you.”
So once again, Nixie let him swim ahead, and then pushed herself and flew right past him.
“You did cheat!” He exclaimed.
“I’m just a really fast swimmer,” Nixie giggled.
“Let me see you swim. This time, I’ll just stand back and watch.”
“I can only swim fast when no one’s watching,” was her excuse.
“Hmm…” He squinted his eyes with skepticism as Nixie giggled again.
Before they left, Nixie and Figg said goodbye to each other. He put his arms out for a hug and Nixie enthusiastically embraced him. They both beamed.
Finally having that time alone together made her glow — Nixie was ecstatic. She wished she had spoken a little more, but she just so grateful just to be able to play together one-on-one.
Unfortunately, her grades started slipping somehow, perhaps she was too busy daydreaming about Figg now to focus on her studies. Now, Figg was placed in the advanced classes while Nixie remained in the average classes. It was a total nightmare. Not only did they stop seeing each other, now Figg probably thought she was so much dumber than him!
During her fourth year of schooling, Nixie was devastated to be separated from Figg, and still thought about him all the time. However, she really liked her new classmates. All of them were friendly, some of them were pretty funny, and a couple of them were kind of cute!
At nine-years old, Nixie was really coming out of her shell. She was friends with everyone in her class. Although she was still on the shyer side, she found herself opening up and speaking out much more. She started putting herself out there, raising her hand more often, participating in more games, and now she was even showing off her newly learned dance moves on front of all of her peers. She stopped being known as the “quiet girl” and now was known for being friendly, talented, and hilarious. What a change! She was always making people laugh now, instead of being the one who laughs!
Nixie stopped suppressing her emotions. Now, whenever she was hit with a wave of excitement, instead of stuffing it down, she would let it take over. She stopped holding herself back, embracing her boldness.
There was a boy named Tails, part-pixie and part-leprechaun. His nose and his ears were especially pointy. Nixie admired his mischievous personality and random outbursts. He seemed really silly and humorous.
As Nixie and Tails were talking, their teacher pulled Nixie aside for a routine “checkup” — a time for discussion about the student’s grades, behavior, etc. For Nixie, checkups were always positive.
While the teacher was talking to Nixie, Tails jumped up behind their teacher and waved his hands around. Nixie tried to keep a straight face but couldn’t help but let out a small giggle. Next, he started doing jumping-jacks, and the teacher still had no idea. At that point, Nixie shot him a look of puzzlement but still couldn’t help but chuckle. The teacher paused for a moment and turned around, but he was gone! At that point, Nixie fell forward into laughter.
And there was another boy named Alfred, part-elf and part-gnome, who had a thick accent and was obsessed with bologna. Nixie enjoyed talking to him and thought he was very sweet. After their teacher had announced they would be starting lessons about the afterlife, Nixie became so excited, that she grabbed Alfred by the shoulders and shook him around exclaiming, “I’m so excited!” And he looked back at her, wide-eyed and speechless!
Nixie had no idea why or how these waves of excitement hit her so hard. But when they did, they were strong! It was like a lightning bolt coming down from the sky and zapping her! A total surge of energy rushing throughout her body! It made her want to scream, wave her arms around, and run as fast as she can! During these waves, she felt absolutely invisible!
Towards the end of the year, a new boy named Gareth joined their class. His family had just moved into the area after their previous home had been hit by human deforestation — destroying their village and leaving them homeless. As vengeance, the entire woodland community struck back with a menacing hurricane upon the humans.
Feeling extra confident, Nixie walked right up to Gareth and introduced herself. And they instantly clicked. It felt like they were flirting. Can nine-year olds flirt, she wondered? Is that even possible? They were blushing, smooth-talking, calling each other cute…
Later on, she saw a group of boys huddling around Gareth and mocking him for being the new kid. Nixie felt so bad for him — she could feel his nervous energy and it was weakening her spirit.
One of the boys rushed over to Nixie in hysterical laughter and said, “guess what! Gareth has a crush on you!”
Immediately, a wind of insecurity rushed through her. All of the boys were laughing and Gareth’s face was bright red. He looked helpless.
“Do you like him back?” the boy asked.
It was like the whole room went dark and a spotlight shined on her, blinding her. With everyone staring, her social anxiety took over once again like an evil demon. She so badly wanted to scream “yes!” And run into his arms! But instead, beyond her own control, she felt herself cowardly shaking her head “no” as Gareth deflated like a balloon.
For the rest of the year, she tried talking to Gareth, to apologize and explain herself. But she was terrified of her feelings. Understandably, he was standoffish towards her after that moment, making it nearly impossible to repair the damage.
On the final day of fourth-year classes, Nixie watched Tails say goodbye to all of his classmates. He was giving out hugs and drawing doodles on everyone’s hands. But he wouldn’t even look at Nixie.
So, Nixie walked right up to Tails and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around to look at her in surprise, and said “what?”
“I just wanted to say goodbye.”
“Why?” he barked back with hostility.
Nixie shyly shrugged, “I heard that you’re moving to another village, so I won’t be seeing you anymore.” She wanted to tell him that she was really going to miss him, but that didn’t seem like something he wanted to hear from her. She had no idea why he suddenly seemed to despise her.
“Bye,” he reluctantly drew a little smiley-face on her hand.
And there Nixie was, sitting on her favorite rock, feet swaying in the water beneath her. She thought about the boys she may have hurt and the connections she may have missed out on. It was an awful feeling. Next year would be different. Next year, she wouldn’t let herself be so boy-crazy. But her mind wouldn’t stop drifting towards Figg, like the sand getting swept away by the shore.