"All I need is a 'what if.' Then I'll be able to write a story. But where can I find one?" The woman gazed at her reflection in a mirror. "A what if." An empty perfume bottle stood on a marble shelf. The woman kept it because it reminded her of her honeymoon in a room with upholstered walls of lime green with tiny fuchsia flowers, a turquoise lake and emerald hills, blue sky and puffy white clouds, tall, curtained windows and alps in the distance. "What if there were a fairy in that bottle? That's my 'what if...' Now all I have to do is find the story that belongs to it."
She removed the wing-shaped stopper and imagined letting the fairy out and listening to the fairy's offer to grant three wishes. "That's the old genie in a bottle story. Of course, a fairy's not a genie so this could be different. Or the fairy could read daydreams and make them come true. No. That's the old Walter Mitty fantasies story. It's like I'm standing in front of a door and the door is locked. There's a keyhole and the fairy in the bottle is the key. If only I could turn the key, the door would open and the whole world of Story would be mine!" She could feel something big waiting to spring upon her like a tiger leaping out of the shadows in a green glen. "Don't slip away. Don't let me lose you. What is it? It's... It's... I know! I have the story! This is the story!"
She hurried to her writing desk. In her most beautiful, flowing hand, she wrote, 'All I need...' "I have a beginning. I know the ending. All that is left is to fill in the parts in between. I have a fairy in a bottle who grants the wish to write a story."
As she wrote, a frog hopped across the floor near her desk. She stood up and stooped to lift him, ever so gently. "What are you doing here, little fellow? I'll take you back where you belong." She smiled.
As she carried the frog to the meadow, she greeted her neighbor who was perched at the top of a ladder precariously balanced on stone steps. Mr. Granger stretched a rake toward one of the balls which lay just out of reach on the flat roof of the shed.
"Has your son been practicing soccar again, Mr. Granger?"
"He certainly has."
"It's no small feat getting those down again, is it?"
"You can say that again!"
'What if,' she pondered, 'a troll lived on that roof and threw the balls down for Mr. Granger every night when nobody was looking...'
At the pond, she set the frog gently onto a bamboo leaf in shallow water where no cats could reach him. The frog stretched his forelegs and spread his tiny toes like small stars. The woman touched his forehead with her fingertip and stroked ever so carefully down his spine. When she looked back, he appeared to be looking straight at her as though saying 'goodbye.'
At her desk, she wrote. Before she knew it, the story was finished. She picked up the empty perfume bottle and gazed at it, then set it down. Inside, a tiny being dressed in pink gauze and whispers lifted a magic wand made of sparkles of gold. Gossamer wings fluttered, thin and delicate as the wings of her cousins, the lime green insects which liked to rest on the window panes in the woman's home. Each time the woman discovered one, she lifted it gently and released it onto the summer's breeze.
The fairy settled onto the curve of glass, closed her eyes, and breathed the fragrance of daisies and dandlions carpeting emerald hills above a turquoise lake beneath a tranquil sky, alps in the distance. In the next room, oblvious to the existence of a true fairy in an empty perfume bottle, the writer mused, "Tomorrow I will write the story, 'what if a troll lived on the neighbor's shed'."