This is the sixth in my ongoing series of post-modern fairy tales. You can read the rest here.
The woman measured her days by her to-do list: how much was checked off, how many items still left, and how much time wasted. And every time, she came up short. Every day, not enough was done, and too much time was spent on the trivial and the frivolous – on Facebook or puttering or finding new crochet patterns.
At last, one night she looked up at the full moon, and she made a wish, that she might finally learn to be productive, to order her day from waking ’til sleep and to get done all the things that she knew to be necessary.
A flurry of light brought with it a smiling figure, a sweet old woman with a face like an apple, clad in silvers and grays.
“I heard ye child, and I came. But is that truly what you want?”
“Yes, of course it is! I’m tired of never feeling like I’ve done enough, like I can’t possibly justify my days! Please, I beg of you, help me to become productive.”
The grandmotherly figure pressed her lips together. She furrowed her brow, and she looked upon our narrator with what can only be termed concern.
“No, sweetling. I will not do as you ask, because what you asked for is stupid. Understandable, but stupid. And I’ll not indulge you in a useless wish.”
“But… isn’t that what benevolent faery figures are meant to do?”
She laughed. “Not at all, my dumpling! We’re here to give you what you need, not what you want.”
“Then… what is it that I need, if it’s not the secret to getting thing done?”
The woman smiled. “You’ll find out soon enough.” Then she vanished.
The woman woke up the next morning. Rather than grabbing a hasty bowl of oatmeal while checking her email, she decided to scramble up some eggs with toast, and since it was an unseasonably nice day, she ate them on her balcony, where she could watch the birds.
She drove to work, and noticed how beautiful the sky was in the early morning, eastern clouds lit faintly pink and yellow.
During lunch, she took a leisurely walk, and ate in the park, rather than at her desk.
When she hit a snag in her work, she let herself gaze out the window (giving thanks that she had a window!) and allowed her mind to wander. After 15 minutes or so, she had an idea and dove back into the work with new inspiration and vigor.
Instead of racing straight home from work, she stopped in at the little shop she’d been admiring for ages, and picked up a few artisan chocolates for later.
And if, at the end of the day, she had gotten as much (if not more) done than with her usual hurry and bother, she was too peaceful to notice.