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At a young age, I was touched by magic. The woman that lived up the street, on the corner of the block, sprinkled fairy dust on me that left a residue. This magical glitter has had its dull days, sure, but it is still with me, very close to my heart. 

She had a garden, this woman. It wrapped around her house, lining the cornered sidewalk. My awe at the flowers and foliage seeps all the way to the beginning of my memory. Butterfly season was my favorite; I loved to watch the swirling colors of fluttering wings. Their fleeting streaks only peppered the garden with more magic as I had convinced myself they were fairies. 

See, I was obsessed with fairies. I had many books on them, one even came with note-writing materials so that I could communicate with any fairy that may reside in my own garden. We did not really have much of a garden, but my mom did keep flowers. I would write notes on little slips of paper and wedge them between leaves and stalks, hoping for a response. 

I would also build fairy houses out of anything that I could find. I was desperate to catch a glimpse of the fairy realm, to see for myself what I knew was true: fairies were real. 

My mom indulged; she wrote back to me, even going as far as to change her handwriting so that I would trust that fairies were real and that they were my friends. 

But this woman on the corner also indulged in my fairy fantasies. She encouraged my staunch belief in the existence of fairies and now, as I look back, I realize that she may just have been the one to tell me that butterflies were really fairies in disguise. The woman noticed my many walks up to her corner and back down to my house where I lingered, wistfully hoping to catch a fairy out of disguise at the edge of my vision. 

Eventually, she gifted a small jar to me. Inside sat a little fairy atop a mushroom, nestled into some moss. I believed that she had actually caught a fairy for me, perhaps out of desperation for my fantasy to be true, but also perhaps out of a small curiosity at whether the woman on the corner was magical, herself. Her long, dark hair and solitary lifestyle was suspicious and witchy, especially since she knew so much about fairies. 

Because of the encouragement that came from the vaguely witchy woman up the street and my mom, I was a full-blown believer in fairies. 

When St. Patrick’s Day rolled around, my faith in the fey expanded to include, of course, leprechauns. Inspired by my fairy in a jar, I became determined to catch a leprechaun and prove the existence of magic once and for all. 

I constructed a trap made of paper and string. The paper was manipulated into a cube with one side left down to serve as a trap door and the strings hung inside from the top. They were all green, the strings, except for one that was gold. This was the trick string that, when the gold-obsessed leprechaun pulled it, would draw up the trap door, enclosing the leprechaun inside. 

On one of my many strolls to peer into the butterfly garden, the woman offered to put my ingenious contraption among the flowers, where the leprechauns would come visit the fairies that lived there. Of course I was elated, it was a real shot at catching a leprechaun! So, I did it; I put my paper trap in her garden and checked back the next day, St. Patrick’s Day. 

At the time, I was both impressed that the trap had caught a leprechaun and disappointed that it had escaped. But now, as an adult looking back, I am so touched that this woman on the corner staged it. She drew footprints in the trap, indicating that a leprechaun had been there, and continued my fantastical belief in fairies. 

That woman enabled my childish wonder and allowed me to see the world as if it was made of glitter. Every tree, flower, and shrub was special to me because it was home to a fairy. In my eyes, the world was magical, hiding secrets of another dimension layered on top of ours and I was smart enough to know it.

Hi! I'm Alexa, one of the Campus Coordinators for HerCampus UCSC. I love most old lady things (tea, embroidering, reading, etc.) and I dream of the day that I can retire to a green academia, Victorian home surrounded by cats and a wide array of novels! I am so excited to be bringing back HerCampus to UCSC, I know that we are going to have a great time :)
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