When I was a little girl, I would often ask my mother how she knew I was making mischief without her even seeing me. She would tell me she had eyes in the back of her head. I climbed up on the chair with her as I picked through her light brown hair on the back of her head, looking for “those eyes.”
When I protested, she said “They’re closed because they are sleeping.”
I would ask how she got them and why I didn’t have them. I had so many questions for her. The answer was always the same with Mom so much that I believed her.
It was because of magic that we didn’t run out of cold water,
that the snow didn’t hurt, it was only cold,
that cats meowed and dogs barked,
grass was green,
there were cherry trees.
It was what made the ocean move,
And the moon so big.
It was magic that caused the sun to rise,
the birds to sing,
the fire to crack,
the smoke to be a ring,
snowflakes that are different.
It makes the rainbow shine.
It kept the train on the tracks.
It was the answer to everything!
Magic. Magic. Magic.
Mom once had me convinced that if I told fibs, that Pele the Hawaiian Fire Goddess, would come into my room and burn my toes. I believed her and would put lava stones in water to make Pele happy. I would like to think it worked. Madame Pele has not torched my toes, but we have had some interesting moments since then.
My dad would predict the end to the movies we would watch before the opening credits. This of course would infuriate my mother and I . Of course Dad would give us theanswer to our “How did you do that?”
“Magic.” Then he would wave at us in a most tricky way with a slightly smug look on his face. My mother would respond with some profanity which would make us laugh harder. (He did this once with the movie The Crying Game and my mother completely lost it.)
I was susceptible to fevers growing up. Living my formative years in the tropics, and then moving to the East Coast had left me vulnerable to asthma, allergies and plenty of infections. The unique side effect of fevers for me were “hallucinations.”
During one of my fevers I was in my parents room watching the black and white TV getting rest when my first “vision” occurred. I saw an older man singing the song “High hopes” to comfort me and I sang it along with him. He began to spell the word abracadabra and asked me to spell it with him. Each time we spelled the word, a letter was dropped until we finished with the letter A. I then fell asleep and slept well. Years passed when I told this story to my father. I mentioned I did not know who the-man was-in my vision. He went a bit pale as I shared with him and his eyes went inward.
“That was my father,” he said. “ ‘Abracadabra’ was something our people used to lower a fever.” He was surprised I had not mentioned it to him sooner. I thought that maybe we were so used to magical things and ideas growing up that they happened to everybody.
As I write this, I am watching Noah play on the floor with his toys. It’s exciting to know that with Noah we can play this “game” all over again. It’s different from my new perspective because I have to wonder if it really is a game or not for him. I am looking forward to the days when he asks me “Why?”