Jamie and Polaris Picture

“What, what, what?” Sophie climbed onto the bed, her pink fairy wings jiggling in her effort. Once she made it to the top, she bounced on her knees and pointed at Jamie’s pile of legos.

“It’s a Mega-blaster Man. Want to help?” Jamie offered.

“Help, Jamie, Help!” Sophie squealed and kneeled over the pile of legos as she eyed them in excitement, her hands perched to pounce.

“Okay, right now I’m looking for blue ones with three pegs. Got it, Soph?” He scanned the wide pile and plucked out his piece.

“See? One, two, three.” His steady finger moved over each peg and he looked at Sophie for understanding.

Her mess of hair shook yes, and she set to work.

Jamie smiled and resumed his own search.

He was thankful for Sophie’s company; while she could be slow and couldn’t keep up with his friends and him , she was the only one who shared his love for the Guardians.

He had woken up that morning after the night with Pitch to another snow day . (Grace, the most logical of their group of friends, worried over their lost half day in May due to the additional free day)He was afraid that it had just been another dream, that meeting Jack Frost, his best friend ever, was the same as his first encounter with the Guardians. Little Sophie, however, proved him wrong.

“Bunny, Bunny, hop-hop-hop!” Sophie chirped in her high-chair.

Dad looked up from the waffle-iron. “Hey, Jamie. Do you have any idea why she keeps saying that?”

Jamie shrugged sleepily. “Easter was a couple days ago. Maybe she misses the bunny that we saw at the mall.”

Dad nodded. “Sounds about right.”

“Sands! Sands!” Sophie bounced around in her chair, as if her Dad had bridged a gap in their understanding of one another.

Mom entered from the kitchen with her coffee and laptop, set them down and mussed Sophie’s hair. “No, Soph. Daddy said ‘sounds’. Can you say, ‘sounds’?”

“Sands in sky! Sandy man! Sandy dinosaur!” Sophie chanted rhythmically, looking at Jamie eagerly. Mom frowned at Jamie with a furrowed brow.

“Jamie, do you know what she means? She was buzzing about an elf earlier, I don’t know why.”

He blinked. “Neither do I. Maybe it’s because she read my mythology book. I think she likes it.”

Dad froze over the waffle iron mid-flip, his spatula suspended in the steamy air. Mom’s mug was before her mouth, pre-sip. They shared the same confused face, with their eyebrows raised. They glanced at each other for what felt like a long time, until Mom broke the silence.

“What do you mean she read your mythology book?”

“She can read?” Dad added. Jamie cursed himself in his mind. “Uh, No, um…” Mom craned her neck towards him, her eyes in a question. “I was reading with her. She kept grabbing at my book, so I read to her.”

His parents relaxed and resumed their actions. “Very mature of you, bud.” Dad said, sliding him a plate of waffles. While Mom and Dad started up a conversation on why Sophie kept falling out of bed, Jamie dug in to breakfast. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed that Sophie hadn’t touched her bowl of cheerios. Her lip trembled. He recognized the look that was plastered to her face; he had worn it himself once. The look of betrayal that showed her doubt in the magic of the night before. Sophie looked up from her bowl and looked at her brother pleadingly.

“B-Bunny?” Tears began streaming down her face. Jamie quickly fled his seat, rushed to his little sister, and hoisted her out of the chair. As he headed down the hallway with Sophie clinging to his shoulders, Dad called after him.

“Hey, where are you going?”

“Uh, just to my room. Sophie wants to see the book again.”

“Aren’t you gonna come finish these waffles?”

“Give me one second, please!

Dad chuckled, mumbling something to Mom about kids and their emergencies.

“Hurry up. I was hoping we could go snowshoeing after your dishes were clean!”

Jamie called out his thanks through the weight of Sophie’s whimpering body, plopped her on the bed, and shut the door. When he turned around, Sophie was sitting up. Her cheeks were bright red and her nose sniffled with shaky breaths.

“Was Pretty a dream?” She whispered. Jamie knelt on the floor before her to look her in the eye.

“The Tooth fairy? Santa Claus, Jack Frost, The Easter Bunny?” he asked.

“Bunny!” Sophie interjected.

Jamie smiled, grabbed a tissue from the box on his nightstand, then began dabbing at Sophie’s tears.

“All of that was real, Sophie. Bunny, Pretty¾ I mean, The Tooth Fairy, Jack and Santa were all real. Okay, Soph? We’re really lucky that we got to meet them. We can’t stop believing in them, so that they stay strong and protect us. Okay?”

Sophie wiped at her eyes and nodded. “When will Bunny come again?” She gently pulled Pongo, Jamie’s stuffed rabbit, into her lap and fiddled with his ears.

“I dunno, Sophie. But he’ll visit you someday. I’m sure that he loves you as much as you love him.”

“I love Bunny, Jamie.” Sophie said with such seriousness that Jamie couldn’t help but believe her.

Jamie held out his hand for another Lego. Sophie passed him the piece that she had been cradling.

“Okay, just one more red, like the one you just gave me. Then we’re done!” Sophie bounced and clapped her hands, then scanned the pile with determination. Finally, with a squeal, she found the final. She made a grand show of handing him the Lego; Jamie made an even grander show of attaching it in place. The two cheered and hugged at the sight of their finished Mega-blaster Man. Jamie’s mind was still racing, now that he knew that his sister was a good playmate.

“Hey, Soph, you want to make a Princess? She could have a wand and a pretty crown and-”

“Not tonight, little man.” Mom stood in the doorway with one of Sophie’s picture books under her arm. “It’s both of your bedtimes. Are your teeth brushed?” Jamie nodded crazily.

“Does that mean she can stay a little longer? Please? We were going to make a really cool princess, and..”

“Sorry, Jamie. You have doctor’s appointments tomorrow. I want to get you guys shots for the flu, you’ve been outside so much lately.” She started to leave with Sophie at her hip, then turned back. “Which reminds me, I never thought I’d say this, but I think I want you inside a little more, just until some of the snow goes away.”

After the battle of the Guardians, almost a month ago, several feet of snow had come to Burgess. Jamie assumed that it was Jack checking up on him, but he still stayed outside often, hoping that he would meet his Guardian again.

He began to protest, but Mom stopped him.

“Or,” She said, her free hand in surrender, “Just bundle up a little more. I don’t want Jack Frost nipping at your nose.” Mom chuckled to herself and left the room with a flick of the light switch.

“Maybe that’s what I want.” Jamie muttered, nestling under his blankets.

 

Jamie woke with a jolt, there was a light at his window. He jumped from his bed to his window seat, hoping to see the jolly little Sandman at work, but when he reached the window, he was thoroughly surprised. There was no golden sand figures lighting up the sky, but silver slips of light that danced around the stars. He pushed open his window for a brush of cold air to float past his cheek, like a soft hand. The stars were absolutely huge tonight, and was it his imagination, or were they actually twinkling? He strained his ears and heard noises in the distance. It sounded like girls; there were low, round laughs like his mother’s, and high singing voices that tinkled like bells. He looked over the town, but he saw no light from any window. His nightlight clock revealed that it was way too late for anyone to be up and not early enough for anyone to be waking. He wondered if he was the only person awake in Burgess.

Another gust of cold wind flew in through the window, and Jamie sighed. He missed Jack more than ever. He wished that he would stop by, just for a snowball fight or a cup of cocoa, even one of his night visits just to check up on him. He remembered their parting words, how he promised never to forget the Guardian, but now he was worried that Jack had forgotten him. Jamie was struck with an idea suddenly and sharply, as most brilliant ideas are. The stars seemed so active tonight, perhaps there was a reason for it?

The boy knelt on his window seat and murmured softly,

“Star Light, Star Bright,

The first star I see tonight

Wish I may, Wish I might,

Have the wish I wish tonight.”

When he opened his eyes, a dazzling light appalled him. At first he thought that the very roof was on fire, until his eyes smarted and he saw two eyes in the brilliant light, then a nose, two thin lips, until he realized that a girl floated in front of him. She smiled lovingly and gently pushed back the window that separated the two.

“Jamie Bennett. I have waited a long time to see your face in person.”

The way that she spoke was like she knew him… no, not just knew him, but loved him with all her heart. Her glowing hand rose slowly, and stopped in front of his face. She hesitated, then cupped his cheek. Jamie was surprised at how warm and soft her hand was, and leaned into her touch.

When she drew her hand back, She lowered her head to look at him straight in the eye.

“I don’t think that you summoned me on purpose, but you may like to know that you’re the first person that I’ve had wish properly since I’ve returned to Earth.”

“Who are you?” Jamie wondered.

She smiled warmly. “You know me as the Wishing Star, but my name is Polaris.” She pressed his back, turned him gently to the window and positioned her cheek parallel to his. Her long arm, emblazoned with a swirling golden curl that looked like half tattoo, half bracelet, stretched towards the star that was shining the brightest.

That is me. Or, rather, my power. Every time a wish that is pure of heart is made on me, I grow brighter.” She explained, sitting so close that Jamie could feel her warm breath (that smelled like peppermint) on his cheek. He didn’t know why, but he felt the need to scooch himself onto her lap. She just felt so, sisterly. He looked at her face when she smiled at him; he could almost imagine her as Sophie in 15 years. They had the same blue eyes and long hair, but Polaris’s hair was the color of pearls with a gentle curl to it, her skin was barely darker. Once in her lap, Polaris shifted her legs so that she sat Indian style, which was much more comfortable.

“Wait,” he said, sitting up, “you said that you had just returned to Earth. Where have you been?” Jamie asked, leaning back so that her chest supported him.

“Up there, in my star, is the palace of the stars. I’ve had to er, stay there for a while.”

“How long?” Jamie prodded.

“Since the Dark Ages.” she murmured. “The last Queen of the Stars, Ursa, wasn’t strong enough to remain in power. So I took her place, until yesterday. Now, a star called Strella,” (she pronounced it stray-ya) “has taken my place, and I have returned to my previous position,” saying this, she bounced Jamie out of the seriousness, making him giggle “as the Guardian of Wishes.”

“So, if I make a wish, You can grant it?”

Polaris half-smiled. “It’s not that easy. How many times do you think I’ve gotten wishes for dolls? For new skateboards, puppies? If that was the case, everyone would be rich as a Queen.”

“You mean, ‘Rich as a King’.” He corrected.

“I meant what I said. Now, You have wished for something non-material. Something unselfish. What is it?”

“You mean you don’t know?”

The glowing lady pulled Jamie from her lap (which he wasn’t thrilled about) so that she could face him.

“What you said to summon me, the Nursery Rhyme, holds power. If you said the words wanting something selfish, I wouldn’t be able to know. However, in your case,” She waved her hand and a burst of light appeared. It looked like a mix between fire, silk, and dream sand.

“A wish appeared. It led me to where you were, so that I can grant it and set it free.” The light curled around his face excitedly, like a ribbon in the wind.

“So, Jamie Bennett.” She said it with a playful smirk, but there was a seriousness to her voice. “What do you wish for?”

He knew instantly what he wanted- to see Jack again. But something about the way she looked at him made him hold back. An unselfish wish? He thought about it, hard.

If he had wanted to wish for Jack, wouldn’t that be something for his own happiness? Of course Jack would be glad to see him, but if he hadn’t visited in a while, might there be a reason for it? He cursed at himself. Of course Jack hadn’t forgotten him. How could he? The snow days? The Snowshoeing with Mom and Dad yesterday? They were gifts from Jack, he knew it. So then why was Polaris here?

With a jolt, he remembered Sophie. She loved the Easter Bunny more than anything, and he couldn’t show her that he was checking up on her like Jack could. Mom and Dad would be suspicious if random eggs started showing up in her room, they might even keep watch on her at night. And if they spotted Bunny…

He finally understood, and Polaris knew it. She beamed with pride and held out the wish, which flickered in joy. Jamie accepted it and took a deep breath.

“I wish… I wish for Sophie to get a night with Bunny. Soon. Maybe you could make a replica of her sleeping, like a doll, while he took her to the Warren? I know how much she loves him.”

She bowed her head and flexed her hand at the wish, which turned exploded in a shower of blue sparkles, which gathered and flew out the window. The pair watched it as it rose again into the night sky, until it was out of sight.

Polaris turned back to Jamie, her expression soft. “Now, child. Is there anything else that I can do for you?”

He swallowed a lump in his throat. “I…I would really like to see Jack again. Jack Frost? Do you know him?”

Something fluttered in her brow, but if she was upset, she didn’t show it. The face only lasted for a moment, and her loving gaze returned.

“I’ll do all that I can.” She bent forward and kissed his forehead, her lips felt warm and her milky hair floated around the air with a sort of glow. When she pulled away, Jamie felt unbelievably, uncontrollably happy.

“I love you, Jamie. Until we meet again.” She rose and stepped out the window on to the open air, but paused with her hand on the glass. She turned back to him just once, but her grin was something that he wouldn’t forget for as long as he lived.


Continue Reading: Ages of Man