Have you ever looked closely at a dandelion? Have you ever inspected it so thoroughly that when you drew in a breath, some of its white, feathery, seed heads flew up into your nose? Perhaps upon closer inspection, you would have thought twice before blowing away its seeds. Perhaps you would have noticed that they're, in fact, not seeds at all. They're hundreds of beautiful fairies.
In an everlasting field, lost in the Cascade Mountains, lives the largest, most populated community of dandies to ever exist.
Welcome to Dandydale.
Within these hundreds upon hundreds of dandelions, millions upon millions of dandies love, laugh and live more than any human ever could or ever would. Each dandelion holds a family of either all sisters or all brothers and each of those families has a secret princess or prince planted among them. The little Royals are unaware of their lineage until the moment that every single dandy has awaited since growing into its dusty wings; The launch.
Once every 16 years, a magnificent blast of winter's wind, originating from Diamond Peak (an ancient volcano older than the ice age), barrels through Dandydale. This hurricane current plucks the dandies from their flower, lifting and twirling the miniature sprites like helicopters through the whipping air. Once the fairy is in flight, its feet - which have been hidden since birth - are on display and their Royal Roots are exposed. Of course, every dandy wishes to look down and find that they bear the noble Blue Boots, but this good fortune isn't the only moment worth waiting for. Once the dandies are swept from their dandelion, destiny-bound, they literally, inadvertently (for the most part) bump into their one true love and spiral together until the end of eternity.
Now, I can't share with you the secret life of dandies without telling you the story of little Sandy Dandy, the most unfortunate fairy of all.
Within a small cluster of flowers, on the outskirts of Dandydale, Sandy Dandy and her sisters flirted, mercilessly, with Randy Dandy and his brothers, who settled in the neighboring dandelion. The girls winked and blew kisses to the boys who hooted and hollered back without shame.
16 long years had passed since Sandy's head popped from her bulb and she first laid eyes on Randy. She didn't care if the fates chose otherwise; she was determined to bump into Randy once the winds came, making him her abiding true love and soul mate. Randy was truly a bewitching pixie, standing 3 millimeters above his brothers. His glistening salt-like embers didn't drift away with every sway. It looked like bits of him were painted in clay rather than diluted soot.
Naturally, Sandy wasn't the only sister to notice the handsome bachelor. He was the most desired in all of Dandydale, as everyone, including himself, assumed his beauty and stature was a harbinger to bearing Blue Boots. Unfortunately, those who peered in his direction often got a glimpse of his brother, Andy Dandy, planted beside him.
Andy Dandy was the scoundrel of Dandydale. Never one to flirt, he scoffed at their insignificant lives and wished he was a different kind of pixie. He had heard stories of Fairyland; a secret world of fairies camouflaged beneath the ocean's waves, and had every intention of finding this land once freed from his flowered prison.
16 years had come and gone and the moment the dandies lived for was rapidly approaching. With not a moments notice, leaves, twigs and a howling gale plummeted like a waterfall from Diamond Peak toward Dandydale. Appearing like a sandstorm of feathers blown from the dandelions, one by one, the pixies were yanked from their homes. The Dandies squealed in excitement as they flew through the air, bumping into their partners. The occasional fairy kicked together his or her noble Blue Boots in glee.
The wind hadn't reached Sandy and her sisters yet, but they waited happily as they saw their fairy friends shoot to the sky like a tidal wave rolling toward them. Sandy prepared herself for the windy collision by fluttering her wings and she locked eyes with her love moments before he blasted from his bulb. Randy shot high into the atmosphere without bumping into a single dandy. He swelled with pride when he looked down and saw his polished Blue Boots. Not even a second had passed before a string of a thousand lady dandies rushed toward him in hopes of being his one and only bump.
Sandy closed her eyes, tightly, and lunged upward when she felt the wind thump against her wings. She didn't know what to expect or how it would feel to have her feet released from the dandelion's tight grasp, but it wasn't as she imagined. She stretched her arms forward as her miniature body swung from side to side, slamming her powdered wings onto the bulb. When Sandy opened her eyes, she realized that all of her sisters had ascended, but she was still trapped in the dandelion! Luckily the winter's squall continued to hum and the floating dandies were still nearby as they dusted the land with their ash. Sandy tensed all of her muscles, bent her knees and thrust forward for a second time in hopes of catapulting toward Randy Dandy. Once again, she didn't move! Panic stricken, Sandy scoured Dandydale to discover that every single dandy had been plucked but her.
As quickly as the winds came, they went. Eight long hours passed and Sandy refused to give up. She continued to attempt to pry herself from her dandelion but only grew more upset the more she failed. She pushed on the bulb with all of her might and flapped her wings hoping to cause her own little windstorm. When her energy sucked itself dry, she slumped on her flower. She was alone and she was never leaving.
"What are you doing?" A sharp voice called from behind an emptied dandelion.
"Who's that?" Sandy spun around as best she could in her fixed state. Andy Dandy, Randy's scowling brother, popped his head into view. "Oh great," Sandy sighed, "It's you."
Andy's humming bird wings shot him like a cannonball toward her, stopping short before smacking into her defeated body.
"Can't get out?" He laughed.
It was the first time she saw him laugh. Unfortunately, it was at her expense.
"What do you care?" She snapped; another first. Sandy had never been cross before. She felt her wings drop as she dug at her bulb hoping to burrow herself out, but even so, what's the point, she wondered. There was no dandy left to be her one true love. Well, except for Andy. She felt sick at the thought. She was certain Randy had flown away with one of her sisters and she would never see him again. That is, until she did.
Randy Dandy was out of breath when he fluttered back to Dandydale. And he was, surprisingly, unattached while taking refuge at his old dandelion.
"Brother! Is this your true love?" Randy asked while extending his hand to shake hers. "Hello. I'm Randy Dandy. It's nice to meet you."
Sandy's exquisite face fell. She had been living next to Randy, loving him from afar, for 16 years and he acted as though he never knew she existed. It was an unsettling thought.
"Yes. I know. I'm Sandy Dandy. We've spoken every day for the past 16 years."
"We have? Really?" He shrugged his shoulders, not caring about whether or not his question was answered. It was then when Andy noticed his brother's noble Blue Boots.
"So, you're the Prince?" Andy sulked. "Why didn't you find a Princess?"
"There were a few. But, I'm much faster and more agile than your average dandy, just as we predicted, and would love the pleasure of choosing my own fate."
"But it's not possible," Sandy corrected, "All the dandies will be taken by now."
"I'm fairly certain I'll have oodles of options. Pick of the litter, if you will. I've been told I'm quite the catch." Randy polished his boots with the tip of his wing.
Sandy felt her throat close. A pang walloped within her belly as she realized that of her two options left, one was worse than the next. "I wish to be alone," She cried.
Randy left without a fuss but Andy continued to linger until his brother was out of earshot.
"This is what I'll do," Andy said. "I'll come back every day for the next 12 days to help pluck you free but after day 12, I'm leaving for Fairyland. If at that time you're still stuck, well I'm sorry, I did all I can do."
"No!" Sandy crossed her arms in a pout. "I don't like you. You're sour and unkind."
"Well, that's just fine. I'll see you tomorrow." Andy flew to the opposite tip of Dandydale and let out a groan before falling fast asleep.
The chilled air woke Sandy with a start. Her whole life, she had been surrounded, shielded by her sisters, and had never felt the cutting air slice into her skin before. She wished to shelter herself in any way possible. She stood as thin as a needle and wrapped her wings around her body. After a long moment she felt another pair of wings envelope her small frame. When she shook herself free, she found Andy's wobbly smile looking back at her.
"What are you smiling at?" She demanded.
"Let's get started."
Those were the only words spoken on that first day. Andy stayed with Sandy from the moment the sun broke through the morning haze until twilight littered the bare land. He held tightly onto her hands, while batting his wings in hopes that the strength of two fairies would release her from the flower's hold. Instead of offering his own muscle, Randy chose to bask in the sun and click his boots.
When the second day came, Sandy held back her shock when she woke with Andy Dandy's wings wrapped around her once again. She decided it was best not to mention how much she enjoyed the warmth of his wings as his frigid personality balanced him out nicely.
The third, fourth, and fifth days were much of the same. While Randy kept to himself and enjoyed berries, the conversation between Sandy and Andy was minimal. Andy did, however, make a point to declare the reason why he hid from finding his true love. Though Sandy never asked, he exclaimed selfishly that he was more of a 'me' than 'we'.
Day six was nothing like the five before. Sandy found herself laughing again, shaking the ash from her hair when Andy flew backwards after his fingers slipped through hers. He launched into a mass of damp moss and when he rose, his soot had been wiped clean. Randy was appalled at the thought of being a dustless dandy but both Sandy and Andy found it to be the funniest event that had ever occurred in the history of time.
Sandy was surprised when she realized that she was excited for days seven, eight, nine and ten to begin. She and Andy had so much to speak about. She loved misty rain and he loved clouds. She loved fingernails and he couldn't stop chewing on his. She dreamed in an array of colors and he had actually seen a rainbow! She was so ashamed of judging Andy before knowing him and he the same. He refused to admit it aloud but the best part of his day was holding Sandy's hands while trying to tug her free.
Day 11 had snuck up on them and was coated in sadness. They both knew that Sandy would never be plucked and that Andy would fly away to Fairyland the very next day. Andy woke with more vigor than he ever knew he had. He had prepared to tell Sandy that he believed the real reason he never found his true love on the day of the launch was because she was never set free. He breathed two deep sighs and powdered himself with fresh soot before making his way to Sandy's dandelion, only when Andy arrived, his heart stopped. In his position, with wings wrapped tightly around his sleeping pixie stood his brother.
When Sandy woke, she shrilled in fright as loud as a train whistle. Randy, with his noble Blue Boots, rocketed backwards from the rumbling vibrations.
"What are you doing?" cried Sandy as she dusted off his ash from her shoulders.
"I've come to pull you free." His brazen tone sent shivers through her wings.
"But why all of a sudden when you've never cared before?" She crossed her arms boldly, almost offended by his confidence.
"I've noticed you and my brother having a lot fun together in the last few days. It's been interesting. I would like to have 'fun'. I've decided to make you my one true love."
Andy, who was hiding behind the stem of a flower, dropped to the grass like a bag of pennies when he heard his brother's declaration.
"I wanted to choose and I choose you." Randy stated, matter-of-factly.
"But wait!" Sandy was a cake mixture of confusion. She had dreamt of the moment when Randy Dandy would realize his love for her since she first batted her peppery eyelashes, but now... things were different. She needed a moment to think, a moment to breathe. She needed to see Andy before he left for Fairyland to tell him that-- before she could finish her thought, Randy began tugging on her hands. His powerful wings, spanning longer than his body should allow, thrashed like an eagle.
She felt a crackle from beneath her feet. It was happening.
She wiggled her toes for the first time. She started flapping her wings slowly and methodically, in perfect unison with Randy's booming swish.
She began to squeal, triumphantly, as she felt herself rise ever so gently. As if she was moving in molasses, one foot oozed out, and then the other with one final--
"Sandy Dandy! Look at your feet!" Randy exclaimed in delight.
She dropped her gaze to find two, perfect, glossy, noble Blue Boots! Sandy lost her balance and forgot to fly. She dropped to the grass and down by the root of her dandelion was where she found Andy. He had seen and heard his brother's plans and confession. He saw his brother do what he could not. And finally, he saw her boots. She was a Royal and therefore his brother's perfect match. Andy met Sandy's eyes and before she could speak, he flew as fast as a jet, far, far away from Dandydale.
On the morning of day 12, Sandy sat on her dandelion, clicking her Blue Boots at the edge of the bulb she grew to love and hate. She had hoped Andy would come to say goodbye like he had promised, but knew the unlikelihood of it. When the afternoon sun burned to an evening glow, she felt small bumps bubbling beneath her where she sat. The next batch of dandies would soon be born and the life she lived in Dandydale would soon be forgotten. When twilight had diminished and the man in the moon smiled down on the Earth where secret fairies roamed... day 12 was over.
"What are you doing?" A sharp voice called the very same words, in the very same way it did 12 days before.
Sandy whirled around to find Andy's wobbly smile.
"What are you doing here?" She flirted for the first time since before the storm.
"I'm keeping my promise. Where's Randy?" He asked, feeling his chest thump.
"I wanted to choose and I choose you." She smiled broadly and red flushed her cheeks, pushing away the grey. "And what about you? I thought you were more of a 'me' than a 'we'?" She dropped her eyes, remembering what he had said earlier.
"I guess I would rather be 'two' than bid adieu."
Sandy rushed toward Andy with open arms, ready to twirl together to the end of eternity, but he stopped her before she could grab hold.
"But you're a Royal?" Andy's voice drained with sadness.
Sandy Dandy waited a minute and then another. By the third, she kicked off her noble Blue Boots one at a time, dropping them to the plush green grass before clutching her true love's hands. And together, they flew.