I used to love urban myths.
We all do, don’t we?
They are cheesy and incredibly naive sometimes, but they work so well in our culture. Especially the shiny promising ones, that just won’t go away. Our part of the Contagoras mining suburbs, nicknamed The Den, is usually crawling with coal miners heading out to the morning shift at the early hours. Men, women and monsters with hunched shoulders, swollen knuckles, many of whom have long since stopped trying to scrub the coal dust out of their broken nails and the lines of their sunken faces. My mother’s parents were part of a small merchant class that caters to officials. They ran the apothecary shop in the nicer parts of the ‘Borrough. Since most of us couldn’t afford a doctor, apothecaries were our healers. My father got to know my mother because on his hunts he would sometimes collect medicinal herbs and sell them to her shop. She must have really loved him to leave her home for The Den. Anyway, one of the popular myths around now was already travelling our minds when I was a kid. Maybe you heard about it too. The story of that one mighty magician who got buried down in the deepest mines, in search for an artifact of The Twelve, called the wishing well. Sometimes it’s a lamp, like myths change with every instance they are told. Somewhere deep beneath the ducts there’s something that would grant you anything you could think of. When we were playing at the black markets near The Den, we were outsmarting each other with clever ideas about what we’d do if we found the well one day.
I don’t think it’s that I got realistic or something. Maybe it’s that I met this girl one day and that she left me again. Maybe it’s that I’d know very well what to wish for. The only thing I’d crawl down for was for her to stop and think about it. Think about that we had it all, in our way, and that it won’t ever be better again, not anywhere in this world. That all possible future shatters in the face of those memories.That ours was The Story, and there will never be another. Think about that I would cross all the oceans and slay all the kings, chop all my limps and crawl down all the darkest shafts for that to happen. That’s what wishing was invented for! And the idea of a nice afterlife along the way, that would be worth living through these days. Only, what kind of reunion would that be? Me, knowing she’s under this powerful spell, that she can’t resist. Knowing that it won’t ever be like then again, our shared eye level, higher than the skies. So what I’d really want was my wish fulfilling without me having anything to do with it. And that would be hard for any genie, wouldn’t it? But it still sounds so easy: Meeting each other again, some day, finding a way to get acquainted anew. It’s imaginable, after all, it can’t be impossible for certain, since nothing is! It would just have to happen in a world without magiqe, without wells, without me knowing about it. My genie would have to exist in a world without genies, my wish in a wishless universe. But there we think about a red green, a round rectangle. Hard to grasp, and yet: In so many hours I find myself trying to break the paradox, looking for something I’ve missed, thinking my way out of the round rectangle. There must be a door somewhere. Like the other option: Erasing my memory about the whole wishing-thing, this longing, so that I wouldn’t expect it, wouldn’t wait for it, wouldn’t crave for it… It would have to erase the better part of the last year with it, the better part of what defines me, wakes up with me, for all this time. I think that’s called lobotomy.
Three of the four pillars of my life are in perfect shape. Friends, Family, Occupation.
And no imaginable spirit in any world is of any use to me to fix the fourth, to fill the gap.
Magiqe doesn’t change the rules, it never did.
That’s what I was gonna tell you all along, brother!
The only urban myths I like, these days, are the ones I’m creating myself.
The ones others fall for.
Maybe I will believe my own tales, too, some day.
Ours is the greatest story that ever happened, after all.