Sitting next to a friend, Ruth, flying back from Washington D.C., the turbulence is sufficient for the captain to ask the passengers to remain seated with their belts fastened. Unable to concentrate on my crossword puzzle, I pull out a magazine from the pocket in front of me. As I let the magazine flop open into my lap, I tell myself that where it opens will be a sign whether I’m meant to see another sunrise.
I stare at a half page advertisement on the left page, the sign that I will live, “Earn an Elf Diploma” in Reykjavik, Iceland (my childhood home). I can no longer feel the plane dip or jerk. In my lap is something I’ve dreamed about all my life after the age of ten.
“Ruth,” her hands are clutched on the armrests, “you are not going to believe this.”
“What? That we are spending our last moments together?”
“No Ruth, it’s better than that.” Although, that’s pretty good. She looks around for a flight attendant, perhaps to ask for a different seat. “I am going to Elfschool,” I say.
I’ve never hung up any of my diplomas, university certificates, or my magna cum laude University recognition (well, I don’t have that one). The community appreciation award (a clock that never worked) or the Ms. Congeniality award from my bridge club (they took pity on me and later said I never really earned it). But the Elfschool diploma will hang proudly for all to see. I will trust my artist friend, Deborah, to oversee the matting.
I tell Ruth a story not many people know about my past; it was not covered in my childhood memoir i am from iceland (yes, you can buy it on Amazon). I told her how I’d been kidnapped by the elves in Iceland, aka the little-hidden people, when I was a baby. I shared how they blessed me with an elf heart and how I lived with them for six months, give or take three hours, before they returned me.
“Didn’t your mother notice you were gone?” Ruth is looking at me wondering if spending her last hours with a woman elf is good karma. I bet it is.
“My mother was a busy. She had five more children.” It was a good question, though. “But you see, Ruth, from that moment on, I knew I was different.” I paused for effect “Going to Elfschool is like calling me home. We are going to be okay.” I pat her hand to calm her because that’s the kind of elf woman I am.
Ruth leans back in her seat, “You seem a bit tall for an elf.”
She doesn’t get it. Because of me, the elf woman, nothing bad will happen to her. It’s my presence, not the flight captain’s skill that will save the plane from going down.
The Elfschool’s headmaster, Mr. Magnus Skarphedinsson, I read, brings in people who have met the elves, some (like me) who have been invited (or kidnapped) into their homes and eaten their food. It is a fact that elves have saved hundreds of lives through the centuries. The ad informs that we will learn about confrontations between the elves and humans. After the two sessions, Elfschool students get a walking tour of some of the main elf quarters in Reykjavik. Oh my goodness, I may see my old infant home again. I invite Ruth to my graduation who says she has to check with her husband. Funny, she never did that before.
This episode, a moment in my life, goes to show that dreams, hopes, and wishes, even when they seem so unlikely, can and do come true. This factual tale has reinforced in me that I may yet do a solo piano performance at Carnegie Hall. Tim inserts that if I so aspire, perhaps I should practice more than an hour a week. There are always those wanting to dim your light. My elf heart beats a different tune.
Previously published (April 2017).