An Apothecary of Wishes

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Lost in thoughts of my past, I sat in what felt like all colors of what is poignant, on a special day of anniversary. I thought of all of my dreams, passed—now a little too late to live—and all the dreams lived, that I hadn’t realized I was dreaming about. It was the kind of day, where thoughts didn’t come smashing down or in on you; but, more a day where they were like Monet’s water-lilies, floating in koi ponds of sweet remembrance: pastel pigments of watercolor and a byzantine of experiences, appliquéd like a tatted wedding veil.
//

I could hear the dog breathe, as she warmed-up beside me and her exhale, seemed to be in sync with my inhale. A day when you see the grass grow and hear the cows moo from the pasture you frolicked in as a young one, only 40 years ago: A day when nothing lives outside your soul.

//

I am old enough to know those days don’t come often. I am also old enough to understand that when they do come, they can dissipate in the flash of a firefly. And so, I found myself disappointed, for in my time travel of recall, of complete presence, my door-bell rang.

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The man at my door, I will call my Helper. Because unknowingly, that is just what he was. He crossed my threshold and I heard the faint scratch of his shoes skip, like a stone, across my slated floor. The sun lit up the room from the glistening sage, sharing reflections from its recent shower outside my living room window. He entered, with a grace of a Drake and though I had only known him for a short time, I found comfort in knowing everything was going to be all right now.

//

I ushered him to the back door, where I was struggling with the wheels not gliding gently in their rail. We spoke of many things as he helped me. We spoke of his daughter’s addiction and the sadness he carried with him, because he felt he passed that gene and need on to her, due to his own addictions. Reminding him, that there are no mistakes in life, everything is intended, I saw the very corner of his lip curl up, wanting to smile through what looked like 3 days without shaving and 18 years of guilt and sorrow. We spoke of shade roots and how they work with his diet; we spoke of health of mind and body and we spoke of spirits of every kind: from gin, to ghosts, to that which inspires us to engage in what we make of life.

//

After he finished his work, like a faithful servant, he gave me the cost and a grateful look, while he said he must go. For some reason, he took the route to the door through our living room and both his eyes, like a butterfly seen in your peripheral vision, readjusted in a different direction than he was walking. It seemed the glint of a crystal bird–atop the armorer–caught his eye and an eyebrow went up. We spoke for another 30 minutes. But this time, tender conversation was absent. This time was about how to tie a noose and how to get a good spit-shine on one’s shoes: and while we were having this conversation he was fidgeting and fussing. Suddenly, like a burst of steam backfiring in an old jalopy; he blurted out — What is that? I answered; it is a crystal bird which serves as a handle. To what, he asked. I smiled, and answered: to my apothecary of wishes. It stopped his curious expression dead in its tracks. He was intrigued and yet it spooked him like a juju spell. He asked me, why an apothecary of wishbones? I said, well, wishbones are for wishes. Dandelion’s wishes wouldn’t stand the test of time in an apothecary. A double-rainbow is not to be in a jar. A Genie in a lamp is mythic lore. A star to wish on is to remain for the romance under the night’s sky. And a coin tossed in a fountain, can’t be wrapped for a gift. And so, I collect wishbones for those who might like a wish. Like a pup, looking to be taken home from a shelter, he stood and looked at me: probably only for a second, maybe two, but in my heart—life slowed down and time slowed with it. In possibly a voice from the deepest part of his being, I heard him say softly: Robin, I need a wish. Of course, I said, we all do. And so I reached for the bird and opened the apothecary, and said, here—choose the one you want. Sheepishly, he asked, can I have more than one? I smiled and he thoughtfully chose 5 and said thank you. And as he bid me farewell, he tipped his hat and smiled. I watched him walk away with a limp; the hands of a working man; a heart of a sailor; then he closed the door behind him. I have not seen him since.

//

I was wrong about that day. I woke up with an unearthly feeling; and it stayed with me through my day and followed me all the way to where boughs break and babies fall. I sometimes wonder about what he wished for, if he kept them for himself or gave them away… regardless, I believe in wishes. I always have and have no intention of stopping now. Over time I have come to ponder, who got the most from that day? And I have finally come to the conclusion; we got what we needed: what we wished for.

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