Posted on March 29, 2012 by Patricia Ann McNairDaily Journal Prompt #82 March 29, 2012: If only… Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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I was at this party once and there was this tall stiff man in top hat and tails and his starched bib shirt white as blinding and he pulled pennies from behind the ears of every kid that was brave enough to go up, and rabbits out of his hat he pulled, and flowers from out of thin air, whole blooming fistfuls of them.
I’d never seen magic outside of storybooks and seeing what he could do confused me. I know there ain’t dragons in this world or wardrobes that lead to snow covered lands where lions talk and witches catch little boys with Turkish delight. I know what fiction means and where it stands in relation to fact. But here was magic in the real world and seeing was believing.
I told mom about it and she laughed and she ruffled my hair and she said I was a silly. But I know what I saw. And I began collecting old brass lamps that I polished till they shone like gold. And old horseshoes bought from the blackie to hang on my wall. And picking my way through fields of clover till I found a four-leafed piece and I put it between the pages of a book, pressing it flat and as dry as paper. And I wished on stars, watching each night for the first glimmer, watching sunsets give way to gloom and then to first dark.
And I wished the same wish over and over, wishing that pa would come back to us one day. Pa, and even after he’d gone I could still see him sitting in his chair and it was still his chair for the longest time the shape of him held in the cushions so if the light was just so and dimming then you could believe he was there. And in my head I used to think I could hear his voice and he’d be reading from a book and it was a story of hobbits as old as hills and small as dwarves, and a story of dragon gold and magic rings. I have the book still, and I read it sometimes, and in my head I used to hear pa’s voice and I used to see him turning the pages. And I used to wish him back.
Then mom found someone new and she said he would be like a pa to us all and she said she loved him. Mom said love was a kind of magic and she said one day I’d understand and I thought I already understood, for didn’t I love mom more than all the world.
And this man mom found, he sat in pa’s chair and all the shape of pa was soon pressed away. And he laughed so hard that I never could hear pa’s voice in my head after. And he pulled a penny from behind my ear one day and I could see it was just a trick and that he’d had the penny in his hand all along. And I stopped wishing on brass lamps and clover and stars.
And I didn’t really understand, even though I thought I did; but I think I understand now, for there’s this boy in my class and he’s so goddamn pretty it hurts, and he said my name today, said it soft as breath, and he pulled me into a cupboard and in that muffled coat-cupboard dark, he kissed me. And I get it now, what mom meant when she said love was a kind of magic, and being in love feels like all my wishes coming true but not in any way that I expected them to.