Head-Skull Moments of Magic
There were these moments in my life where I thought the universe was warming up for something amazing. I thought that I was a curious enough girl who paid more attention than most, so when I noticed life break down the day just like Cage the Elephant breaks down their songs so effortlessly, I thought I was one of very few that saw that big change was a-comin'. It wasn’t a magical time exactly, but it was as if I knew something magical was about to happen. The magic was just about to finally show itself to me: “Jade! You were right. Pixie dust is a thing!”
Usually, I these moments came just before a big storm hit, some horrendous downpour of rain attacking an unexpected city. The air always seemed heavier than usual. It was hot enough to make most brains too tired to notice little fanciful glitches in clever little reality. Clouds loomed over in a rushed manner, causing the sunlight to constantly appear and disappear and reappear again and again. The way the sun couldn’t make up its mind made light cast down upon static objects in such a way that these objects seemed to come to life, constantly moving: all chairs were rocking chairs, all trees felt a breeze, all concrete structures vibrated with excitement and anticipation.
These moments would never quite amount to anything spectacular. The moments preceding large storms continued to be major buzz-kills all throughout my childhood, actually my teenage years especially. I was always expecting something big. Maybe someone would need me for a secret mission because I was the chosen one or my father was actually a spy-hero legend. Maybe I would happen upon an elf who had lost his way from his home in an enchanted forest. But when no special agents recruited me, and no fantasy-like creatures stumbled upon me, I was left laying in bed wide awake trying not to betray my young and hopeful faith in mermaids and unicorns. Is magic real? I would ask myself, but dear God, never out loud because, at the time, I was too worried that as soon as I doubted magic, any chance of it actually existing would disappear just like a child’s lack of faith in Santa Claus killed his mission. No, I didn't want to be that kid, the murder of Santa Claus and Rudolf's flying abilities. So instead, I would whisper to myself in the darkness: "Magic exists. It has to. It just has to.”
The next morning was always a slap in my grumpy face, and the stress and worry I suffered through the night before showed through my swollen eyelids. I would walk onto the tennis courts with a full day of practice ahead of me, kids and coaches wondering what kind of nightmares were keeping me up at night after seeing my puffy little tired eyes. It didn't matter that after the storm passed, a beautiful blue sky was the result. No matter how fresh the day felt after the storm passed, my teenage self was still sore that the magic never happened and still worried that my disappointment might turn into doubt.
Well, I had one of those moments today, you know, the ones where I felt a magic tornado might fling itself up out of no where (any moment now!) and pick me up and take me to another world. I felt the air grow thick and heavy until I felt its circulation stop all together. The leaves of the trees waved about…Or was that just what it seemed like with the sun polka dotting the dark and imminent rain clouds? My 17-year-old self would have been hopeful for a life changing event until the temperature returned to its normal state, the clouds returned to their usual height from the earth, and things like eating, walking, and scrolling through Instagram quickly became more important than waiting for a magic show that had yet to ever make it to the stage.
It was then that I realized that my 23-year-old self knew better.
These moments, yes the moments right before some miracle my 17-year-old self was sure she was about to witness, had come and gone enough times now that at 23 years of age, I finally realized that nothing ever happened when I thought they were about to. These moments were literal calms before storms. Hot air and cold air were colliding, and that’s what brought on the storm. Yep. Science. And it would rain for a few minutes - surely the beginning of some time warp gate opening up in the ground?! - no 17-year-old Jade. It was just a storm passing through.
At this moment today, when I rejected the idea of magic just around the corner and replaced it with a simple scientific explanation, I was sitting at a small table with some closing errands still yet to be done before Three Pines was ready to be locked up. There were fresh baked pizzas in cardboard boxes and good company sitting on wooden chairs around the early dinner to be had. I sat with men years older than me with stories to tell. One man had a family, one man had a clear career path, and one man had a lot of questions. I pulled a slice from one of the boxes and my mouth closed shut on fresh pizza crust, mozzarella, and basil. The oldest man laughed about how late he had been for a deadline once upon a time ago when he lived in another state, in another life when he was just barely a father. I talked about picking mangos last June in Costa Rica. Then we all settled together with pizza in our bellies and talked about iced Japanese coffee and how we counted our money followed by screw ups, accomplishments, goals, discoveries...
Easy talk. Warm food. Hard work.
Maybe magic exists. Maybe it doesn’t. But my 23-year-old self isn’t really too concerned about that anymore.