To look at, there was nothing extraordinary about her. Her hair was blonde, but there were other girls whose hair better captured the sun’s rays. Her eyes were blue, but not as blue as sapphires. She was intelligent, but there were greater scholars. She was not outgoing, preferring to take walks in the woods to the company of the tittering females her town typically produced. According to the society around her, she was as average as the town itself, which could be a thousand different towns in a thousand different places.
This girl, though, was different from the thousand other girls in the thousand other places for one simple reason. She was in love. Love has the capacity to make even the smallest detail special. For this girl, named Sophie, love made her radiant.
She had fallen in love with a young man named Alex. Being timid, she kept her feelings to herself whenever they encountered each other, or so she believed. Nobody in town had the heart to tell her that her regard for him was completely evident in the blush on her cheeks. Being a bit slow, as men often are with these things, it took Alex some time to come around to her.
Sophie was deliriously happy when Alex finally started courting her and Alex was the same way. They would walk through town hand in hand, completely ignoring the rest of the world. One summer day, Sophie picked a flower, and handed it to Alex for him to smell. He sniffed it, and then put it behind her ear, tucking her hair back in place. They were devoted to each other.
Times in their little town were hard, though, and Alex had no work. He couldn’t provide for himself, let alone a wife or future family. Sophie still had ties to the town and would be unable to go with him if he left to find work. They discussed options many, many hours before finally concluding that Alex would have to leave the town, and her, to work. Neither one of them liked the solution, but as the alternative was not to marry, what else could be done? Fate had dealt the two of them a most unpleasant hand.
The closer it got to time for him to leave, the more Sophie’s heart was ripped to shreds. Sophie, who had earlier been all but dancing with joy at the thought of her Alex, now was near tears wherever she went. He was leaving. More to the point, he was leaving her. What else was there to do but weep? Her world was breaking underfoot, leaving her with nothing. What would she do without Alex? He was her dearest friend, her confidante. It was he who could offer her comfort when she was upset, soothe her when she was angry, and make everything good sparkle with light. What could she do?
Long walks, always a favored pastime, now became a refuge. Sunlight flickering through tree branches seemed to tell of possibilities undiscovered. A deer sipping from a stream appeared to be magical. What she never realized was that the forest was indeed magical. There were forces that dwelled in the forest, unknown to humans, weaving their spells on everything around them. She encountered their magic every time she stepped into the woods, and always emerged calmer than when she entered.
The day before Alex was to leave was particularly rough for Sophie. By avoiding Alex, she had managed to keep from crying for most of the day. That couldn’t last forever, though. She needed to see him, to say goodbye. She did okay-didn’t cry-until he embraced her. He had never seen her cry, but he heard her sobs as she ran into the forest.
This once, she didn’t want his comfort, and so avoided him when he came after her. Blinded by her tears, she tripped over a tree root and landed at the feet of a massive oak. She sobbed until her entire body ached and she longed for air. Everything, all her fear and despair, her misery and depression, was cried onto the tree roots where she landed.
Eventually she stopped crying and walked, aching and empty, back to town. Alex met her along the way and offered her what meager comfort there was to be offered. She was grateful, and still miserable. So was he.
Meanwhile, in the woods, a stag stepped into the shadow of a mighty oak, touching his nose to the ground where a young girl recently lay. The breeze, suddenly violent, was stilled by groaning from the oak. The stag exhaled sharply, an agreement with the oak. Around them, a pool of stillness spread through the forest like mist. Predators let their prey go; birds found a place to rest their wings; every creature stopped out of deference to the magic.
More quickly than a forest grows in spring, but slower than a human has patience to watch, flowers grew from each of Sophie’s tears. Formed by her prayers, they have a very simple name: forget-me-nots. The entire forest knew love; even the solitary hawk was driven from its nest by love for the sky. So, from love for another creature, the forest soothed her the only way it could. It offered its magic.
The stag, pleased with the result, minced away. It could not help what happened to Sophie and Alex any more than the rest of the forest.
Full of anxiety, Sophie couldn’t sleep. Deciding a walk would help clear her head, she headed toward the forest. Wandering aimlessly, she stumbled upon the same oak she had earlier in the day. The flowers’ blue glowed in the moonlight as she bent to touch the delicate blossoms. Soothed, but unsure why, she picked a handful of their stems. She would give them to Alex in the morning; he’d like them, and think of her.
Dawn arrived much too soon. Sophie handed Alex her flowers, and clung to him. Alex took them, tears in his eyes, and held her tight. Neither one of them could say goodbye. One last look said everything for them. Eventually, Alex did make his living, and sent for Sophie. Her elation was limitless; she danced wherever she went and was prone do bursting into song. Their life together was a long and happy one.
Now Sophie and Alex are dead and forgotten to all mankind. Occasionally, however, the breeze will sigh through the branches of an oak, especially during the summer when the forget-me-nots bloom. And Alex and Sophie live on in tiny blue flowers breathed to existence by love.