Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Make Wishes, They Come True

I can't count very many happy memories of my mom and dad doing familial things with me. There are a couple that linger, but family moments never transpired again after I turned 8. And I'm not sure if I should call any of the memories "happy" either. Because in one way or another, there was deception in my family. And what seemed like happiness to me when I was 6 probably was a facade.

For example, I have a lovely little memory of watching Walt Disney's Pinocchio with both of my parents. They sat together on the couch, and I sat just in front of them on the carpet. It was a magical experience of course, one that had me believing in wishes. "When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires, your dreams come true," or some Jiminy Cricket bullshit like that. I totally fell for it.

When the movie was over, I had an idea. I would go outside, find the first star in the sky, and make a wish. If Gepetto could look out a window, catch a glimpse of a star and bring a wooden puppet to life, I could easily score what I had in mind.

This wish would complete my collection of Batman toys. I had a few different Batman action figures, even a gold suited Batman, as well as The Joker and some other villains. But I didn't have Robin. This was before Robin appeared in the Batman movies, but I knew how important he was because I read the Batman comic books. Robin was an integral part of the Batman stories, and my playtimes were not what they could be without him. When I found that first star, I would wish for the Robin action figure. Boy did I get excited when I asked my dad if we could go outside.

"You're gonna make a wish? Make sure you find the brightest star in the sky," he walked outside with me. Into the front lawn I wandered, and once I was in well oft into the grass I threw my head up. I almost fell backward. The sky was pitch black. And there were millions of stars in the sky. I'd never seen them like this before, they were beautiful, shining brighter than ever before. I saw my star. I don't know what made it special, but I locked my eyes onto it and didn't let go.

"Now make a wish Dylan!"

I really believed in this wish. I believed in this magic moment. It wasn't just a setting sun, billions of miles away from me, burning pointlessly through the universe. There was no such thing as science now. This star had a supernatural power, and by simply acknowledging it I would have my desires fulfilled. There wasn't a thought in my six-year-old brain that whispered the possibility that this wish might not work. I believed in what we were doing, 100 percent.

I said the words in my head, silently, but in such a rhythm that whoever was listening to my wish would be able to pick up the transmission without any mental stutters. "Starlight, starbright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, get the wish I wish tonight... I. Wish. For. A. Robin. Action. Figure..." It was done. A mere thought, and now, physical reward. It made perfect sense.

"So what did you wish for?" I turned around at my dad. "Uhhhh," I wasn't sure if I could answer. If I said it out loud, would it come true still? Or was that just for birthday wishes? "I.... wished for...."

"Did you wish for a cookie?"

...No. I definitely didn't wish for a cookie. We have cookies in the house. Why would he think that I might wish for a cookie? I can get a cookie anytime I want. I stared at him confused, still not sure if I could say it out loud. But I had to correct him. I couldn't let him think that I might wish for something so ridiculous. "No, I wished for a Robin action fig-"

"Well why don't you wish for a cookie."

Looking back at him, I could just tell that he was in the mood for a late night snack. And it really killed the moment. The longer he stood there, the faster the magic drifted away. But I looked back into the sky, found whatever measly star required the least amount of bend in my neck, and wished for a cookie anyway. "Ok. I wished for a cookie."

"Ok, let's go back in the house now and see if your wish comes true!"

I walked slowly back towards my dad. I felt kind of disappointed with this wish. There wasn't anything magical about it at all.

We went into the kitchen. My dad opened up the cupboard and grabbed some Oreos. Then he grabbed two glasses out of the cabinet, poured us some milk, and we both ate cookies on the kitchen counter. "Looks like you got your wish!"

I smiled, but didn't say anything. They were good cookies. I was in no place to complain. And I learned a lesson about reality. A wish can only come true if it's possible. And maybe it might have been very possible to get a Robin toy, but my dad never did buy it for me. Nor did it magically appear in my toy collection later that night. Wishing upon a star isn't as fun when you know that your wish will come true five minutes later due to your own free will, but in reality, it might be the best wish worth wishing. If I construct my own facade, I'll more easily know how to tear it down.

Then again, maybe I just shouldn't have said it out loud.

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