“Drop the coin and make a wish,” he told me. “But remember, it will only last a day.”
The moss-covered stone well, in the clearing of the town woods, was said to be magical. Every year, on the eve of a New Year, children would venture down a muddy path to where the stone well had been built. It was rumoured that the stone well, of which its depth no one could ever surmise, was the work of the early settlers who had sailed from Gaul. Though not in any historical records, many believed that the early settlers were Druids. After all, the strange occurrences in the small township of a thousand were often left unexplained. From the blooming of lavender in winter, to the display of red and green light streaming across one autumn night, one cannot insist that the place I called home was—for the lack of scientific explanations—magical.
“How do you know if it worked?” I asked.
“Make it an obvious wish,” my best friend, who had tossed a coin the year before, replied.
I was seven that New Year’s Eve. And so I made an obvious wish—a prayer, almost—that my parents wouldn’t go through with their divorce. That perhaps, for just one more day, we could be a happy family. And, though arguable that it might just be an educated decision on my parents’ end, they didn’t file the papers until I turned twelve.
Every year after my first coin toss, I returned to the stone well with my best friend. I made wishes, which were so realistically possible, that they never failed to come true. I was a child. I had yet chosen the path of a skeptic. It was only on my twenty-first year, when I returned home for the year end holidays, did I truly put the stone well and its supposed magic to the test.
“Are you sure you want to do this,” my best friend asked.
“Only for a day, right?”
“Correct. But remember how your parents stayed together for five years?” he recalled, almost as if he believed the fairytale to be true.
“Don’t tell me you still believe in this… wishing well.”
“Don’t tell me you have a reason for the frost flowers last summer,” he challenged—yet another bizarre phenomenon where the town lake blossomed ice crystals in the 40 °C heat.
“Yes, strange things happen here. But stranger things have happened elsewhere. Just Google it,” I stated.
“Suit yourself.” He shrugged. “I’m just saying, what you’re wishing for, if not for a day, can ruin you.”
I chuckled. What was the worst that could happen, I thought. If magic was indeed real, then I wouldn’t have to hurt anymore. If magic could save me from the agonizing pain—a pain I’ve failed to rid myself of for the past year—why not give it a try? And… if this magic decided to prolong its stay, it would be a blessing in disguise.
So on the night of December 31st, I met my best friend at the trail-head of the timberland with a coin and a torchlight in hand. We chatted about our school year for the entire twenty-minute stroll until, there it was, the stone well basking beneath the pastel moonlight. There was no one else around—the children had visited in the morning, the high-schoolers in the afternoon, and some of the adults had dropped by before their New Year celebration. At that hour, everyone was in town waiting upon the fireworks.
“You sure you want to do this,” he asked once more. “All you need is time. Wishing it away…”
Time—everybody told me I would heal with time. But how much time, nobody had an answer. They weren’t seeing her in class, watching her laugh with her friends, and witnessing the glimmer in her eyes when she held his hand. Oh, how I wish I could move on. But I was stuck—my soul crushed by a lost love over and over again.
“It’s been a year. I can’t—I’ve tried. Trust me, I have. I just… I can’t get over her,” I admitted.
“But wishing your feelings away isn’t going to make it better. You’re going to feel again after tomorrow. If… only if, the wish lasts a day.”
“I’m just going to wish to stop feeling for her. I’m not wishing all my feelings away.”
“Then make it clear when you toss the coin.”
“Don’t worry. I know what to wish for.”
And so I made my wish. I didn’t hear the coin hit bottom—no one has ever heard the echo of their wish. But from that New Year onward, I believed what some still thought to be a myth. The stone well was indeed magical. It had granted me yet another wish, but in the oddest way I thought possible. Because from that day, I never saw her again.
It wasn’t that she didn’t exist. She was alive. She was still in my class. I would sometimes catch her friends speaking about her. But, I never saw her. In fact, I couldn’t recall her face. She had become a ghost of a memory—a lost love that could never be found. And… it was all thanks to the wishing well in the little town of Bluestone.
12 Genre Months © 2018 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.
(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)