Ria was anxiously excited about her first year at the Texas Fairy School in Austin. She wondered what language they would speak. There is an ancient Færie language but it is only used for ceremonial events; weddings, births and contracts. Fairy lawyers have to be fluent in Færie (lawyers aren’t liked in the fairy world either…) Most fairies speak the same language that their human neighbors speak. In Ria’s case, it was Spanish as she came from the Texas border town of Brownsville. She could speak English, also, but loved the way Spanish rolled from her tongue. “Mi amor” she whispered, blushing at the idea of future fairy liaisons. Ria was twelve years old and a River Fairy.
Brownsville sits on the Rio Grande River which divides Mexico from Texas along the border. The town is at the river’s estuary into the Gulf of Mexico. Its river water is silty with brown sediment from hundreds of miles of river weaving through desert, mountains and plains. Ria was presently a brown fairy, with hair and eyes the color of expresso, but knew that she could metamorphose into shades of blue, grey or brown or a tranquil combination of all three.
River fairies have to blend into their surroundings like all other fairies. Ria was surrounded by bright blue skies, the blue grey of the Gulf and the soft brown of the Rio Grande. Then there were dolphins, herons and catfish – all hues of grey. Her Mother had sultry smoke grey eyes with platinum long wavy tresses. Her wings were cerulean blue with taupe and charcoal accents. Ria longed to look like her Mother when she was older but she could be just like her Father. He was a most handsome, Latino fairy! His deep mahogany eyes sparkled with humor and kindness. His hair was chestnut, tipped with silver, as were his metallic wings dappled with chocolate and lilac.
“Mija, are you ready for big school?” Ria’s Father broke into her reverie. “Papi, I am a little scared about fitting in at Fairy School. Will some of them speak Spanish?” “Of course, Mija, the Texas School of Fairies in the most prestigious in the Occident. There will Amazonian fairies that are brown just like you. Then there will be all the Caribbean Azures. Everyone has a special place in our world. You will even meet some Red River Fairies from North Texas.”
“What color are they, Papi?” Ria excitedly interrupted. “They are a deep red to match their river, which meanders through red rocks and soil. When I was at Fairy School I met a beautiful Red River Fairy with russet curls – her name was Roxanne.” His warm brown eyes twinkled as Ria exclaimed, “Papi! Does Mama know?” “Let’s keep this our little secret, Mija.” Both giggled secretly when Ria’s Mother came into the room. “What are you two up to?” said Mom. “There are bags to pack and a new school uniform to buy for our little girl.”
Ria clapped her hands with joy, her little chestnut colored wings vibrating with pleasure. All the girl fairies attending school had to wear the same pinafore style but it could match their fairy hue. Mother and Ria held hands while they flew to their fairy seamstress. Her workshop was on the opposite side of the Rio Grande in Mexico. Fairies don’t care about borders – their role is to bring happiness to all species wherever they may be. Selina, the seamstress fairy, greeted Ria and her Mom like the old friends they were, chattering in Spanish and offering yellow Hibiscus tea.
Ria’s round eyes gleamed looking at the array of beautiful fairy fabrics spun from spider silk and cotton. Every hue of their landscape hung gauzily in the workroom. Silvery silk, ocean blue muslin and slate gossamer thread. Endless shades of cream, fawn and cinnamon fabric for the many brown fairies. She gently touched the reams of fabric that were as soft as thistledown they were weaved from. Brownsville is at the very tip of Texas with a hot, tropical climate so all species feel the heat. Austin is hot in the summer but can be cool with frost in the winter when the school session started.
“Honey, come try your uniform on,” her mother entreated holding up a chocolate brown velvet pinafore with an ivory thistledown blouse. “Ooh, it is so beautiful, Mama”. Ria’s eyes filled with tears as she looked at herself in herself in the copper mirror. Her mom and Selina choked back tears of their own looking at a beautiful little girl fairy growing up before their eyes. All too soon Ria would blossom into an adult fairy with new colors and a chosen name. Her Mom hugged her and held her tight, thinking how far it was to Austin. She could see the anticipation in Ria’s eyes and kept her sadness to herself knowing all little creatures have to flee the nest. One day she would return and live a River Fairy’s life.