“How are you, Isabella?” I ask.
“I’m a crocodile.”
“Yep.” She snaps her fingers closed against her thumbs. “Snap, snap.”
Isabella is eight. Today she is wearing psychedelic athleisurewear. Last week it was a shirt with a glittering unicorn. Before that, it was sequins. Lots of them.
She works hard in the violin lesson, though her arms are tired from playing capture the flag.
Afterwards, her mother wishes me a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. “Are you Irish?”
“The wrong kind,” I say. “I would wear orange.”
“Oh,” says the mother, sad for me, though we’re both American.
“I’m going to meet a leprechaun,” Isabella informs me.
“You should follow him to the pot of gold at the end of his rainbow,” I suggest.
She nods. “Yes, and today we saw a rainbow.”
“Well, goodbye,” the mother says. “We have to go catch a leprechaun.” Isabella runs off
to do it.
Ukraine is a far-off place, but I suspect it might be as magic as Isabella. I can’t help picturing it as a land of blue and yellow, color-coded like Oz, with fields of sunflowers as far as the eye can reach, minarets standing bravely fantastic against the sky, and a leader whose superpower is his humanity.
I know bad things will happen to Isabella. First, she will stop believing in magic, and after that, there’s no telling. I know very bad things are happening to Ukraine.
But today people came out of the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater, rising from the rubble in a place where, one day, the curtain will rise again on a magical world.
Postscript: Later, we learned that 600 people died in that theater. Magic may be fickle, but what else is there to oppose the dark gray world of war?
Lorna Wood is a violinist and writer in Auburn, Alabama. Her flash creative nonfiction has appeared in Feed and Wiki Lit, among other places. Other flash has appeared on NoSleep Podcast and in Canyons of the Damned, and Every Day Fiction, among others. She has also published poetry, longer fiction and CNF, and scholarly essays. Find out more from her Amazon Author page at https://www.amazon.com/author/lornawood or her blog, “Word Music,” at https://lornawoodauthor.wordpress.com.