Just a quick update to say that I am going to Scotland this summer! It was kind of a snap decision on account of me finding a good fare a solid $400 cheaper than anything else I had found, getting to see Julia, and taking a solid retreat into my favorite place in the world.
I cannot wait. It’s been three and a half years since I was last there, at Christmas 2006. So much has changed since then, but one thing’s for certain: this is exactly what I need.
I can’t help but smile. And I also can’t help that even 24 hours later, when I smile about this, a couple of tears spring to my eyes as well. Something happened to me yesterday that I had been waiting twenty years for. There really aren’t many of those things; I’ve only been alive for twenty-five. And yet this is one of the few, and indeed one of the least likely to have transpired. But it did.
This is a story of magic and love. One that, like the smile and the prickling tears, I can’t help but share.
Last night, I was driving home from my boyfriend’s band’s show with him in my little blue Civic. We chatted briefly about mundane things — plans for the next day which included a bro-down for him and a ladies brunch for me. About halfway home, he told me that he’d gotten me something. I thought, Huh. Good thing I got him something too. He informed me that it was something I had mentioned in the previous couple weeks and that he had resolved to get it for me.
I was intrigued; I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it could be. The only thing I remembered mentioning that I wanted was pie, and I rather doubted he had gotten me a pie.
He went on to tell me that he would surprise me with it. I might not get it tonight, but maybe in the morning. Or next week. Whenever the moment seemed right. And no, it wasn’t sex. This made me even more confused, and more firmly ruled out pie, since he already had it, and I don’t think he would give me a week old pie.
I was thoroughly curious by this point. I told him I had something for him, as well. But that it was a small thing I’d picked up at the Dollar Store, and no, my gift wasn’t sex either, nor anything remotely sexual. We came to the conclusion that anything sexual from the Dollar Store most likely was not to be trusted. Luckily, I’d just gotten him a basting brush. My boyfriend happens to make some damn fine bruschetta, and each time we shop for ingredients, he always pauses at the basting brushes and then never gets one because they’re about $8. So when I saw a red Betty Crocker silicone basting brush for a dollar, I had to get it.
An hour or so later, we were in bed. We had a long conversation about my previous blog about dating musicians, including the thoughts that I’d had about what that meant about priorities. He kissed me very gently on the forehead, and as always, I could not help but smile into his shoulder.
I rolled over and put one arm under my pillow. It encountered something there. It felt like plastic, cool to the touch. Like a tube of some kind. I exclaimed that there was something under my pillow, thinking it was just something that had gotten thrown there accidentally before we made the bed. I wondered aloud what it was, and he turned on the light so I could see.
Rewind twenty years.
A five-year-old girl humbly asks Santa for something extra special for Christmas. Beyond the Care Bears, her heart’s desire was set. This little girl was convinced that magic was out there, that it was real, and that one day, it would find her. So she did what anyone would do in that position: she asked the most magical person she could think of for something magical. A magic wand. With real magic.
Christmas came and went — the Care Bears arrived, but the wand did not. The small girl lifted her voice and with it, she made a deal. “Santa,” she said, “I know you’re very busy. You had to get to all the little kids in the world, and so I understand that you probably didn’t have time to bring it. But…I really do want it more than anything. I won’t try to see you — just leave it under my bed when you get the chance.”
She looked under her bed every morning for over a year. And even when she finally stopped, she knew magic still existed. Even when the time came two years later for her to stop believing in the Santa that rode in his sleigh delivering gifts and exchanged that image for the picture of a box from a stranger, wrapped in brown paper. A stranger who heard her letter on the news asking for Santa to fix the leak in the roof above her bed and paid for it himself, along with everything else that she had mentioned in her letter — every jewel Polly Pocket and the crown of all, the princess castle. In fact, she was even more sure magic existed. She knew that she would never be surprised when she found it.
When the light came on, I found myself holding a black stick, silver at both ends. My jaw fell open. “It’s a magic wand,” my boyfriend said. Dumbfounded, I stared at him. “And you already have the magic for it.”
“You got me my wand.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. In that moment, I was five years old again, looking under my bed, expecting a miracle. Tears fell. I had told him the story over brunch at our new favorite restaurant, sipping delicious strawberry lemonade and eating sandwiches made with waffles and sweet potato fries.
As I hold it now, I’m sure. I can feel it in my hands, in my blood, in the air. There is magic in this wand, real magic.
I always knew I’d find it.
there are days i wonder how cynical i’ve become. i find myself thinking something harsh and jaded, and it disturbs me. so instead of indulging in this cynicism, i’m going to indulge in a journey through things that make me happy.
i like dewy mornings with cirrus clouds and the scent of spring greenery and humid earth. i like showing up to see that there are leaves where buds were yesterday. and i like herbal tea.
i like getting caught in sudden downpours and thunderstorms in the night. i like waking curled against someone, and knowing his scent when the sun returns. i like the breeze of a fan as i sleep at night, and sounds of the ocean in my ears. i like splashing through shallow shores where tiny shells wink through shifting sand like sleep-filled eyes.
i like long kisses and knowing smiles. i like the quiet of the night and the stillness of seeing morning from the wrong side of the sun. i like the deep, primal beat of drums and how my heart strives to match their rhythms. i like to weave the threads of words upon a page, savoring each sound and syllable and meaning.
i like the fathomless hushing roar of the sea and the tremulous almost-fear it inspires. i like jewel-bright valleys with green turned to gold in the glittering sun. i like hot cereal on lazy mornings and kissing water droplets from warm skin. i like the slide of soft sheets and pillow cocoons.
i like naps and drowsing into slumber when eyelids grow heavy and fall. i like waking to warm hands and soft sighs and even a lover’s morning breath. i like woolen blankets and smooth fabrics.
i like the first drink of a cold beer and the hazy glow of a pub. i like the silken peat-flavor of single malt scotch. i like complex melodies and interwoven harmonies and rhythms that surprise me. i like minor keys and songs that stay with me. i like concerts and dancing. i like losing myself in a song and the sound of voices blending. i like singing in stairwells.
i like foreign streets and stone walls. i like ruins of castles and climbing crests of jutting rocks to watch the waves strike and splash. i like puddles and climbing trees. i like when cats blink at me, and when dogs wag their tails. i like kittens ‘paws and happy puppy breath. i like when birds sing what sounds like catcalls.
i like nuances of languages. i like pleasant surprises. i like to run my fingers through someone’s hair and feel its softness. i like holding hands and laying with someone’s head on my stomach.
i like the smell of mint, vanilla, lemon. the scent of rising and baking bread. i like the way the earth smells after it rains, and the rich forest scent of moss and loam. i like the smell of chamomile tea and summer in the southern states, of plants and dirt and humidity.
i like vampires and cemeteries at night. scary movies in the flickering dark. i like superheroes and graphic novels. waking under warm covers and sleeping curled in a ball. i like watching the stars and seeing them fall. i like knowing their names. i like seeing who lives in the heavens and watching orion move across the sky in vain pursuit of ursa major and pegasus as cassiopeia watches upside down on her throne.
i like the voices of history that come from worn pages and faded inks. ghosts of people long dead who hover by shattered remnants of their once-bright vitality.
i like bare skin and soft breathing. warm hugs…and….