50 Ways to Leave Your Fairy Lover

Edited by Julia Rios

April 2018

Dear Mia,

Are there really fifty ways to break up with a fae, you ask? I suppose you wrote to your grandmother because you’ve heard that back in the day I was a heartbreaker. Human or fae, any gender—they adored me, and I adored them (your late grandfather most of all).

You wrote that your fairy lover expects you to accompany him on wild hunts and to all-night dances, but he never wants to answer BuzzFeed quizzes or join your Ingress team.

While you read this, keep in mind that love isn’t an airplane ride with everyone traveling at the same speed along a plotted-out path. It’s more like taking a cross-country car caravan. Your vehicles will travel at different speeds. Sometimes you’ll need to pull off at the nearest exit, or even decide to turn around and go home. If it’s meant to be, maybe you’ll both reach the same destination.

In the summer of 1976, I adorned my flowing, straight red hair with daisy chains, and tufted my granny dresses with lacy collars and cuffs. The fae are attracted to shiny things, so it’s no surprise that Morgaine was pulled to me.

She found me at the Renaissance Faire, where I was selling pet rocks painted to look like fairies, unicorns, and ogres. She tapped one and frowned.

Her dark hair and lashes intrigued me. She wore a black leather jacket and pants, and even though it was a humid 90 degrees, not a bead of sweat rolled down her forehead.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“Lass, I believe you are selling defective merchandise,” she said. “These pets are … merely rocks.”

I giggled, and the daisy chain slipped from my head.

“Ah,” she said, a grin pulling at the corner of her lips. “The joke’s on me.”

With a mischievous sideways glance, she ran her fingers over the stones. They shimmered, and then spoke; the unicorns neighed, the rock ogres growled, and the fairies sang their mistress’ love for the red-haired lass who sold them. Passersby bought my inventory within 15 minutes, and Morgaine and I were in each other’s arms shortly after that.

We were far from the perfect pair. She grew impatient with my human needs, like sleep and catching up with friends. I disliked her unhealthy reliance on fairy food. (Darling, I have always respected your food choices as a vegan, but I have been wondering if you understand why fairy food is so addictive? Underneath the fairy dust—nothing but bacon.)

Our fights seem inconsequential now, but at the time it seemed too much to overcome.

Breaking up with an immortal who believes in the undying bonds of love isn’t simple.

You tell me that you’ve seen the Facebook post about fifty ways to leave your fairy lover. Most are crude, like placing an iron strip across your threshold. I don’t recommend those break-up techniques because, frankly, they are inhumane and can injure the fae. They are a barbaric legacy of an older time.

To my mind, the best method of tactfully ending a relationship involves something a fae cannot resist: a quest.

If they fail, they will believe themselves to be unworthy of your love and leave without argument. Here are the three quests that I gave Morgaine:

THE IMPOSSIBLE SORTING: Challenge a fae lover to sort something very complicated. I asked Morgaine to organize my Tupperware. She never found the matching lid for one sandwich box. Ask your fae boyfriend to sort your Facebook friends into three categories: true friends, friends whom you suspect don’t remember you, and friends you’re considering muting because they overuse memes. Even before social networks, the fae found human friendships to be complicated. He won’t have a chance.

TECHNO-TREASURE HUNT: The fae are terrible with technology. I challenged Morgaine to program my VCR to tape the ABC made-for-TV drama “Letters from Three Lovers,” which I had missed because I went to the roller disco instead. Well, she taped “The Bionic Woman” and “Little House on the Prairie”—almost everything on that night except “Letters.” Ask your fae boyfriend to find all the Easter eggs in “The Witcher 3.” He’ll beg to prove his love by finding real treasure, like Excalibur or the Holy Grail, but don’t fall for his ploy.

VANQUISHING THE RED TAPE: Pick a bureaucratic nightmare that’s impossible to solve. I asked Morgaine to plan a vacation to Cuba in 1976. Ask your fae lover to appeal a claim denial you received from your health insurance company. Even the charm of the fae wouldn’t be able to navigate that system.

After failing the three quests, Morgaine packed up. The pet rocks cried pebble tears. Despite her faults, she was also brave, sweet, and funny. When she was gone, I wondered if I had made a colossal mistake.

Soon after, I met your grandfather, and my regretful heart slowly mended. I never forgot Morgaine, though.

I’ve given you the secrets to a successful fae breakup, but before you use them, I’d urge you to remember that communication is key in any relationship, whether it’s with fae or human. Life wasn’t always smooth with your grandfather, either.

Remember how I said love is like a road trip? Morgaine, it turns out, traveled a winding road since 1976. Last month, she showed up with the missing Tupperware top, a VCR recording of “Letters from Three Lovers,” and tickets to Cuba.

What about the age difference? Morgaine is considerably older than me, it’s true, but we are both fit for our ages.

We’re off, my dear, for a month in Havana. When I get back, you may write to me at Morgaine’s estate in the Land Under the Hills.

Much love,

Grandma Carol

© 2018 Aimee Picchi

About the author

Aimee Picchi

Aimee Picchi is a journalist and SFF writer who lives in Vermont’s biggest city, which is actually very small. Her stories have appeared in publications including Intergalactic Medicine Show, Flash Fiction Online, and Daily Science Fiction. She’s a graduate of the Viable Paradise workshop. Aimee is a former classical musician, and is a graduate of Juilliard Pre-College and the Eastman School of Music, where she played the viola. She enjoys a good viola joke, but warns you she’s heard them all.