Do you believe in magic?
She knew about magic: deep magic tucked away behind that secret door, to be opened only at her command. In days gone by, the door was always half ajar inviting her in freely, without hesitation. The rooms behind the secret door had welcomed her whenever she desired to enter, even during waking hours. But these days, access was not as readily available. Locating the door itself had sometimes become a challenge. She had considered that perhaps she needed a special command to call upon it. So, she had tried to close her eyes summoning the magic through the mists, until finally the secret door would become visible. “Open for I need to be within!” she demanded. And it was so.
She was on the swing in her grandmother’s garden, flying through the air higher and higher above the fragrant spring violets, until she could almost touch the candy floss clouds…Then it was dusk, in late fall strolling with her Auntie Elizabeth past her school, past her church and past that other place all boarded up…
“That was an old synagogue” Auntie had said. “Everyone disappeared. Some said they were taken… Let’s go for ice cream.”
Then she was in her tree house, in the bushes behind their new home in a faraway new country. Mother had helped her clear out the undergrowth to make room for her table and chairs where she could hold tea parties with her new kitten and puppy. The branches were fashioned into archways to use as secret doorways, through which she alone could enter still other rooms. But not today.
She was back in her living room, in real time, not in magic time, as she liked to call her episodes away. It had been a good trip. On this one, she had found rooms from long ago bright days of enchantment. Yet, even here hints of darkness had tried to creep through its penetrable walls.
She longed to tell her friend about this last adventure. She knew better of it. She had confided to her about the magic…but only that once.
“The way you tell it! Magic you say? I’d keep that to myself, if I were you. Anyway, they’re only memories. But others might think you are getting too weird!”
What about those others? Did no one else know about magic? Oh, that simply could not be. Even if only through dreams, magic surely had tried to converse with them. Perhaps they chose not to partake in their dreams. How very sad!
Why was magic known only to her? It didn’t matter. The secret door was there for her to enter again and again.
This time it was early morning in that large room, in the campus cafeteria. There were only a few others, trying to muster up energy from the machine’s bitter coffee. Then he was there, lighting up the room and her heart with his smile. He pulled out a coin from his pocket, as he did every morning, and headed straight to the juke box, punching in the memorized numbers. The haunting, rhythmic intro filled the hollow room until finally the lyrics came of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman”, hovering in the air. “My song of you” he would say. That song was still within her as she found another room at the university chapel. Nancy floating down the aisle in her long, grey satin gown. Father Michael smiling in the distance: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments….”
And in the next room, it was pouring rain as she ran with him holding his hand, always holding his hand, to her own wedding. Professor Dobby reading from Proverbs: “Her husband praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all’….
“No. I don’t want to go to another room!” she pleaded. “This was the best magic. Ever!”
But of course, with time, she was haunted by the secret door. Calling her! Until once more, she found her way there. It was again in that chapel, with a closed coffin. Father Michael held back tears in his voice as he said farewell to Nancy.
“No not this, and not others!” she cried as she willed herself to leave that room of doom ‒ to yet another chapel of reprieve. He kneeled, accepting his call of ordination. Surrounded by his peers, each held a hand on his head as she smiled. And then, she took his hand in hers, back to that room where the juke box was waiting. He placed the coin in the slot and the music of “Black Magic Woman” resounded through the walls of each room ‒ into her real time, in her living room.
From Echoes of Footsteps