I once believed in magic. Not traditional fairy tale magic, or even Disney’s the world-is-a-perfect-place magic, but in the magic of the unknown. As a child, I wondered why you couldn’t divide by zero. Can I see a zombie movie? When can I be an astronaut? Why is the sky blue? When can I drive a car? Why did grandma die?
It didn’t matter who I asked. I always heard….
You’ll understand when you’re older
My curiosity turned to patience. I stopped asking questions that couldn’t be answered. I forced myself to be content with not knowing. I had faith that someday I would understand. I waited expectantly. Any day, any minute I would be blown away with answers to these mysteries.
I expected to learn the reason you could not divide by zero would be universe-shatteringly powerful, with logic so astounding it would literally propel me from my feet and slam me against the wall. I would sit there stunned, but happy I had my answer and was now eligible to join the ranks of the greatest and the wisest.
On my fourteenth birthday I was old enough to watch a zombie movie. I had anticipated this moment forever. I waited till long after sunset. Alone in my darkened basement, the zombie staggered onto my giant screen TV.
I prepared to spend the next two hours transcended to a whole new level of consciousness. What a let down. What I had hoped would be a life-changing thrill-ride was just any other movie, only with squirting blood and profanity.
Time passed and more of my burning questions were finally answered. Yet I felt nothing. I was enlightened, but there was no magic. No magic? To acknowledge magic did not exist would crush my childhood dreams.
I couldn’t do it. I had convinced myself this magic existed, and I was desperate to find it. Where was it?
I am now seventeen. I have a driver’s license. I will never be an astronaut. I’ve memorized the calculus proof for why you can’t divide by zero. I understand why my grandma died.
I’m a different person. My unrealistic expectations that the adults around me didn’t know about or have the heart to destroy have injured me. I’m muted. it is difficult for me to feel sadness or joy. I have a sobering outlook on the universe and have even doubted the meaning of life. It has left irremovable stains on my values.
I no longer have blind faith in a friend or a religion. My trust in others is but miserable tatters of what it was before. Sometimes, I wish the magic I believed in as a child, the magic of the unknown, was real.
A lifetime ago I believed in magic, but I learned from growing up that new experiences and new people I meet will never meet my expectations. But maybe, I’ll meet theirs?