Most nights Celestine had trouble sleeping, so she would stare out of her window at the pinpricked sky. Most nights the window was closed, over her parents’ concern that she would catch a cold or have a coughing fit from some pollen or another. But tonight her window was open.
Celestine observed what seemed like a shooting star burned a tiny, bright arc across the sky, but it was accompanied by a sound like wind chimes tinkling far away, which was probably unusual. The fact that it took a sudden turn and headed for her bedroom certainly was.
A small white light, perhaps the size of a golf ball, alighted on her windowsill and bounced toward her tentatively. It hopped across her bookshelf, along her drawing desk, and onto the railings of her bed. A winged figure as delicate as glass danced along the railing in a giddy little jig. Its features and loose costume were such that Celestine could not determine whether it was a small boy or girl.
“Are you my angel?” Celestine asked. The little thing mimed laughter with a sound like an inch-long trumpet.
“A fairy, then?” Celestine countered. The creature nodded triumphantly, flexing its wings.
“Can you come closer?” The sprite studied its feet pensively. “I know I look ugly with all these wires and tubes and no hair,” Celestine continued, “but you’re so beautiful. I just want to see you better.”
The tiny person made a sound like bells chiming and hopped gleefully onto Celestine’s outstretched palm. Seeing it even more clearly, Celestine realized its costume, cap, and makeup could have belonged to an old-fashioned clown in a black-and-white movie. A sad clown, perhaps, but still a clown.
“Do fairies need clowns to cheer them up? They seem like they would be so happy all the time.” This seemed to strike a nerve, because the fairy folded its arms in a pouty gesture.
“You must be lonely, too,” Celestine said. “We can keep each other company, if you want.”
And so they did, playing games until just before dawn, when the little clown flittered away with a wave and the sound of glasses clinking together.