Thursday, October 15, 2015

Into the Land of the Elves: A Little Human Magic

The Diary of Miss Aidyn Hall, friend of the Jadeites
August 17
4:40 PM
A Little Human Magic

          “All right, now move to the right just a little inch or two should do it, that's it. Tilt your head a bit—the camera wants to see a little more of that smile! Crystalline, why don't you make a nice pose so the camera can see your pretty dress?”
          Maybe the idea of posing for pictures is new to Jadeites, but at least it wouldn't be a chore to get a smile out of them. They both had the silly giggles, and the very best smiles come from the silly giggles. Apple Blossom wrapped both arms around Crystalline. I took the picture, and then I took two more for good measure. “Do you want to see them?” I asked.
         “We can see them now?” Crystalline asked, bewildered.
         “Yep,” I said, “I just took three of them.”
         “We don't have to stand here and wait for the picture to be finished?”
         “No, sweetie,” I said with a chuckle, “it is finished. Come and see!”
         The two of them were very skeptical, but they still hurried over to see the pictures. The wide open eyes and mouths were absolutely priceless. “That's exactly how we look!” “It's like a picture mirror!” “How did it do that, though?” The two of them looked at me like I was some kind of witch.
         I explained: “A camera is a device that uses light to make an exact copy of what it sees.”
         “But I didn't see any light,” Crystalline said doubtfully.
         “The light is inside,” I told her, holding out my phone. “On old cameras and on the big cameras used in studios, you can see the light. But on phone cameras like this, it's hidden inside.”
         “Humans can do magic too,” Apple Blossom told Crystalline matter-of-factly. “When I was at Aidyn's house, I saw her press a button to make pictures move around in a glass box.” I had never thought of technology as “human magic” before, and I liked the idea immensely.
         Of course, the girls had me take several more pictures, all with different poses and faces, and now my phone is filled with them. I'm going to upload them to the computer, then print them into a photo book to give to Apple Blossom. But right now, I am going to go visit my friend Katie.

8:32 PM

         I showed Katie the one picture of the girls that I had kept on my phone, and when she regarded it with a friendly smile, I swiftly aimed the phone camera and snapped. Apple Blossom and her friends would like a genuine example of a kindly smile from a human. Whenever somebody is asked to smile for a picture, the smile is almost guaranteed to look forced (I've noticed that my own headshots tend to have this problem). The only way to get a real smile is to wait for one to show up.
        Luckily, I managed to snap the picture in the split second before she turned her head and asked, “Did you just take a picture of me, Aidyn?”
       “I did,” I told her. “I'm going to show it to Apple Blossom.”
       “Well, geez, take another!” Katie said. She tilted her head jauntily and grinned from ear to ear, and as expected, it looked totally forced. “One is enough,” I told her, “and I like this one better.”
       “I have some things to give to Apple Blossom,” Katie said. “Can you tell me if she'd like this stuff?”
       My mind was blown. “Well, show me,” I said.
       She took a small Ziploc bag down from a bookshelf. “I was doing some reading about elves on the Internet,” she said, “and what I read said that elves like gifts and small trinkets.” She handed me the bag and I examined the contents. She had raided the supply baskets at her sewing shop; there were two shiny pearl buttons, three grosgrain ribbons long enough to be tied around pigtails, two fully-crafted bows attached to brooch pins, and a small bouquet of silk flowers tied with lace. To be honest, I wasn't sure if she would like any of it—she had plenty of stuff like this and more. But it made me so happy to see that Katie was making a genuine effort to be a friend to her, and I knew that Apple Blossom would appreciate it just for that. “This is wonderful, Katie!” I told her. “Thank you! I'll bring it over for her tomorrow...and I'll be sure to get a picture of the resulting smiles!”
      But when I got home, I got a better idea: I could use these small materials to decorate the cover of the photo book. The book will be made from a three-ring binder and include several blank pages, so that it can be added to and allow room for small treasures to be pasted in as well (I know that human little girls like to paste small things in scrapbooks, and Jadeite little girls aren't very different from human little girls).
      I haven't done a scrapbook in a good long while. This is going to be fun!

August 18
2:27 PM

       The only empty three-ring binder I had lying around was in an ugly shade of charcoal black...meaning that it would be even more fun to make it pretty! I drove out to the store to pick up some photo paper and a pack of cardstock, and then I got to work.
       The bows on brooch pins I decided to set aside as a separate gift, but the three ribbons—pink, blue, and seafoam green—made for a lovely border around “Treasured Photos” written in script with a gold gel pen. I untied the nosegay of silk flowers, cut each one from the stems, and pasted them around the cover. There was nothing to do with the lace, so I set it aside in case I could use it later. Finally, I glued a pearl button in the upper left hand corner and a pearl button in the lower right hand corner.
       While the cover dried, I pasted in the photos, starting with a full-page photo of Apple Blossom and Crystalline, and ending with a full-page photo of Katie's candid smile. I included the pictures of the garden and mini forest that I had taken, and by the time I was done I could already envision Apple Blossom's ear-to-ear smile as she received the book. When I met her at the bridge after lunch, I got to see it for real.
       I read her some more of the diary today (specifically, the part where we went swimming in the Bell's Rush), read her some more of my story about the knight and the fairy queen, and now she's busy decorating the pages of the photo book. She seems awfully preoccupied with that picture of Katie. I guess I did a pretty good job of capturing the genuine warmth in that smile. I think it's fine for me to skip reading the next diary entry. Apple Blossom doesn't need to know about my abandoned bad idea to publish my Greenwood adventures. Besides, she's more interested in the entries that feature her. That means skipping straight to the time I stole Chicory's jade stones...
       But am I going to be able to read through that without revealing the other half of it?

2:40 PM (according to Apple Blossom)

       Apple Blossom knows how to tell time by reading the position of the sun. I don't, so this timestamp is only a rough estimate.
       I have just reread all of the entries in which I stole the jade stones. I don't think that I could get away with skipping—Apple Blossom will catch it and call me out on it. Besides, that project idea takes up a lot of entries after that, including the days we spent researching in the library. Everything I've done in the Greenwood during that time frame was all about acquiring information for my own novel, for my own gain. That's almost like I was using the Jadeites. How horrible was I?
       In that case, Apple Blossom didn't know she was being used. Is it best if she never knows? If I were being used, I would want to I could avoid the heck out of whoever it was that dared to use me. But what applies to me may not apply to Apple Blossom. I would be angry. She might be crushed.
       I need to think this through. Until then, I won't be reading the diary at all. I'll just be reading the fairy queen story. Hopefully she will be happy with that. And really, it is my personal diary. I have every right not to read it if I don't want to.
       Holly Berry and Crystalline have just been escorted in, and I'm sure they'll want me to keep them company for a while.

6:12 PM

       Apple Blossom's photo book got about thirteen new entries this afternoon, from out in the palace garden and from our romp through the wild berry fields. Now that I'm clean and free of berry juice, I'm sitting here waiting for them to print. There are some great shots of the girls sitting under the flower arches and the blossom trees in the garden, as well as several pics of our berry-juice-smudged faces and the huge bushels of berries I was surprised such small girls could carry between them. I think Katie will especially appreciate the selfie of my juice-spotted face—the aftermath of Holly Berry's brilliant idea to chuck the excess berries at eachother instead of just throwing them away. I'm texting her the picture right now...
       ...and of course, as always, I now have to tend to the massive pile of texts she's been sending me over the course of the day. Doesn't that girl ever have anything else to do on a weekend? It's only a little after six, there's no reason I can't just go over there. I can show her the rest of the pictures, too, including Apple Blossom's priceless smile upon receiving the photo book. You know, the pic that I promised her I'd get. 

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