This is my favourite way to spend a warm spring morning: lying naked in the hammock tied to the pair of maple trees, which were planted, fortuitously, exactly hammock distance apart by the previous owners of my house. They weren’t the ones that built the privacy fence. That was my addition, for obvious reasons. There is nothing like a spring sky when the air feels summer warm, as it does sometimes in Toronto, before air conditioning smudges the sky. In spring, a warm day is a gift, the memory of winter, especially this winter of the polar vortex, still fresh. I love the sun on my skin, I crave it, and indulge it on perfect days like this.
The hammock swung gently, I watched a fluffy white cloud and didn’t even imagine what the shape resembled because that would be too much effort. I didn’t have my Iphone plugged into my ears. All I heard was the gentle wind in the trees and the waterfall of cars beyond my privacy fence.
My eyes opened and closed, I drifted in and out of sleep, and had a pleasant dream about my boyfriend. The sparkling green shapes were moving leaves in the sun. Or so I thought until one of them spoke.
“What yer doing there all naked like that, lovely? Don’t you know it revs up the boys?”
I fell out of the hammock. The ground did not feel nice on my naked skin. I grabbed the first thing that came to hand, a sweatshirt left in the yard last night, and tried to cover up my chest and groin at the same time by crouching with knees to chest, the sweatshirt gripped between. “What? Who?”
The green thing settled down on the edge of the hammock and peered over the side at me. It? She? Had a wrinkled face. No pointed ears. They were round and fluted like a cabbage leaf, ovesized for the face. Which also had eyes, a nose, and mouth. She was not a human in miniature. The eyes were bulged and fishy, the nose was flat and barely raised, the mouth had sharp teeth both upper and lower. Her lips were red, from blood? Those teeth did not bespeak a grass eater. “I’m not gonna bite,” she said. Was she—were they, whatever they were—mind readers? “I’m not a mind reader. It’s every human’s reaction to us. You’d think they weren’t the bloody big hunkers, and us tiny people. Humans are timid.”
“What do you want?” I asked.
“Do you repeat everything a body says? I want lemonade for my grandson’s coming out party.”
“Sure,” I said. “Lemonade. Doesn’t every fairy…”
Something bit my naked knee. It hurt and it bled, but I hadn’t seen anything except a green flash like the sun bouncing off a leaf. I tried to swat the thing, but it flew out of reach. “You insult me, you pay!”
“Sorry.” I wondered if there was a terrible disease, like Black Death or something, carried by these verbal insects. “I’ll have to disinfect this. I can bring you lemons after. I’ll just go inside.”
There was a high pitched whistle.