He loved her so much he made a song for her. He loved her so much he talked to his mom about her. He tried to get his friends to be nice when she was around but it was hard, almost all his friends were boys and that made it very hard. He thought no one but his mom knew he was thinking about her all the time but after a while his sister knew. His sister said he should like someone else, another girl who was his sister's friend but he didn't. He never would like that other girl, his sister's friend, and after a while his sister gave up bothering him about it. His sister gave him a lot of advice about his girl and told him he better listen to it and he did, mostly, sometimes, but not always.
One day it was his girl's birthday and it was summer and the days were really long and warm. Not so hot, not yet, not hot like it would be when it was his sister's birthday, but not still cold and only pretending to be summer like it always was on his birthday. It was perfect weather for a summer party and it was going to be his girl's birthday and he wanted to do something for her, something nice and a big surprise. He decided to make a fairy town for her by the river and to get his mom to make fairy food and to take it to the fairy town and have a party there when it was evening, with candles in the trees and with music. He'd ask his dad to play the guitar and to not sing and his mom to come with the food and help him make a great party, and he'd only invite the friends who liked to play fairy town. That was three of the people he knew, plus his girl and plus his sisters, so seven people not counting his mom and dad. Seven is a magical number.
He sat in the mud by the edge of the stream carefully tying sticks together with grass. His littlest sister was making steps from the root of the tree down into the water, down to the landing they had made from sticks and smooth stones. She was using round, flat rocks, pressing them into a sloping shelf she had scraped into the soft, damp dirt. He watched her a moment, then went back to his slow work, satisfied she was setting the steps evenly and making them level. He could hear his other sister behind him in the bushes, singing and breaking something. Branches.
His mom and his dad were talking, too, his dad was helping his mom set up the folding table for the fancy fairy food and also some chairs for people who would want to sit down on something and not be able find a good log. He carefully set the stick and grass sliding double door in place on the pod and acorn warehouse that sat on the bank above the landing and then he scooted back from the water. He looked around the town and nodded in satisfaction. His littlest sister had finished the waterside steps and was busy working in the backyards of a row of bark cottages, making raised garden beds with straight rows of tiny, stuck-in leaves. He looked around for his next project and stopped to consider a hollow at one side of a tree, his head a bit on one side, and then began to build a theater, like a Greek one is his book at home.
The day went by and so far no one had come, but it wasn't a bother, wasn't a worry because he had told people his family would be by the river all day and that they could come whenever they wanted to, to help with the fairy town. One of his friends came and started to help and they had a great time all day. His friend loved the theater and helped him make a bakery and a pottery. His littlest sister made stables for mice and the bigger sister made a whole row of shops that sold clothing made out of flowers, and his friend helped both his sisters and talked to his mom and dad and had a great lunch with his family. Then the other two friends came in time to help with the food and with putting the candles in the trees so that by the time his girl got there the whole place looked really magical. The first friend who came also had the great idea of putting little birthday candles into the tiny shops and houses so the fairy buildings just glowed in the warm summer evening, and the candles reflected and flickered in the ripples on the river where it flowed around and under the tiny landing he had made below the pod and acorn warehouse.
His girl loved her gift, just loved it, loved the fairy town, loved the food, loved his dad playing the guitar, and he felt very happy. His littlest sister played with the first friend who had come and his bigger sister watched everyone and made lots of plans in her head for other, better girls her brother should fall in love with and marry. They ate the special fairy food his mom had made and his dad played songs for them to listen to and to sing. The river chuckled and splashed as it flowed past, and all the candles burned low. He was happy, very, very happy. He had done just want he hoped he could do for his girl and she had loved it. Just loved it. He was so happy, and he didn't even fight with his bigger sister on the way home in the car.
Do you think, his dad asked his mom as they drove the rest of the way home with sleeping children in the backseat, do you think he will ever notice that the girl he had so much fun with was not the one he has a crush on? Oh, yes, I expect he will, his mom said, he's a smart boy. His dad drove for a while and didn't talk. His mom watched the reflection of the moon on the river as they drove alongside it. How long, his dad asked, how long do you think it will be before he notices? His mom smiled out the window at the river and at the shredded moon reflected on its surface. By the time he is twenty-three, she prophesied, I think right about then he'll notice.