Amour Propre

7/14/18 – Day 7

amour propre | ˌämo͝or ˈprôpr(ə) |

noun

a sense of one’s own worth; self-respect: few indications in him of ordinary amour propre or common vanity.

Rachel didn’t even want to breathe for fear that it would break the scene in front of her. She sat very still, kneeling at the bay window and meeting the fairy’s gaze. The luminous wings heated her cheeks with every beat. Rachel’s room shone bright as day, but she couldn’t avert her eyes.

“Are you ready to go into your world?” the fairy asked, the glow from her face pulsing with every word.

Rachel could only nod.

The fairy took her hand. A wave of warmth swept through Rachel’s body. A flash of light, and the room went entirely dark.

Rachel never told anyone about that night. She never told them what she saw. She never would. But what everyone in her life knew was that she became inspired that night.

Six-year-old Rachel began to draw fairies. Not very well at first, but she eventually got the hang of it. She would detail their wings, their hair, and their clothes in such an ethereal way that even the adults in her life could only stare in wonder and muse about where she had dreamed up such incredible supernatural beings.

At age sixteen, Rachel drew her last fairy picture. He had an orange color scheme and soul-wrenching black eyes. She stared at the picture on her desk for a moment. Then she scooped up all her colored pencils and put them in a box. Her drawing she placed into a drawer with the others. She cried herself to sleep that night.

At age twenty-six, she had a steady job as a camerawoman for the local TV news. She captured the pictures of the real world. She hadn’t drawn a fairy in ten years. She hadn’t looked at her drawings in that long. She tried not to think about them or those two nights in different decades.

Distant memory. Not real. A childhood fantasy. Stay focused. Forget about all that and do what you’re supposed to. Drawing those things is stupid. There is no point. That will not get you anywhere. Your fairies are not a part of you. This is a part of you. Do what you’re supposed to.

A mindless cog in the machine. That was what Rachel had become over the last few years. Known to a few friends and coworkers and dates. Never someone special or standing out from the crowd. Not someone who drew attention.

She began to try.

Fewer clothes. More words. Fewer scruples. More nights out.

The nights dreaming of fairies were replaced by nights of drinks and men who didn’t love her. Her job felt more mediocre than ever. Love seemed more distant than ever. Friends seemed harder to reach than ever.

It was the middle of a Friday night. An unsuccessful one, for Rachel. She slumped on her bed and buried her face in her hands. She had never brought herself to cry since the night she had locked up her fairy drawings for good. (She didn’t even know where those had gone. Presumably they had wound up in a box in her parents’ attic. A part of her didn’t want to know.) She felt closer to crying now than she had since that night. She had the desire to simply bawl, but she couldn’t bring herself to.

Then a bright light filled her room, too bright to be from the cars outside. She looked up and froze.

The first fairy she’d ever seen. The one who had shown up at her bay window twenty years ago. The one she had passed off as fantasy.

Rachel wanted to scream. This wasn’t real. The mild bit of alcohol she’d imbibed had warped her mind somehow. She was going insane. She had a fever. Anything other than reality.

“What . . . who . . .”

“Do you remember me, Rachel?”

The tears started to well up now. “Of course.”

“Do you remember everything you saw?”

“Some . . . some of it . . .”

“I think you need a reminder.” The fairy came closer, her sheer power filling the room so thick that Rachel could hardly breathe. “You need to find your amour propre again. Are you ready to go into your world?”

The fairy stretched out her hand.

Rachel never told anyone about that night. She never told them what she saw. She never would. But what everyone in her life knew was that she became inspired that night.

The next night, Rachel stayed home and drew a picture of a fairy.

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Epic Music World. “Epic Vocal Music: ‘A World Of Imagination’ by Cézame Trailers (Feat. Alina Lesnik).” YouTube, YouTube, 2 July 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKeZHQp8PFw.

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Word of the Day is a personal task for me to get me writing each and every day. I want to share these short, daily stories with you so that you can see more of my writing style. Review my Word of the Day rules here.

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