There are only three things in life that truly matter: Harry Hamerton, sugar and chocolate. So that’s what I wished for, from the genie.
She looked at me with an eyebrow tweaked, and then shrugged. “Okay. Here you go.” She made a graceful flourish with her hands and in a poof of smoke, she was holding three small drawstring bags.
She handed me the white one first. It was gauzy and its surface shimmered with tiny crystals. It was surprisingly heavy. She handed me the brown one second. It was smooth and satiny, and almost slipped through my fingers. The third bag was bubblegum pink, with a heart-shaped ruby rhinestone bead drawing the bag closed.
She hesitated, dangling the bag before my dazzled eyes. “Are you sure you want this one – in this manner – as a wish?”
I nodded. Why would she even ask?
“Alright.” I heard her shrug, this time, still unable to tear my gaze away from the bag.
The first two bags filled my palms, so she hung the third on my pinkie finger. The ruby winked at me, the sweetest promise of all.
I managed bring my attention – barely – back to the genie. “Thank you,” I said, gratitude spilling out of my pores and infusing my words.
She shook her head, her general air of mischief dimming a bit. “You seem like a nice kid,” she said, regret deepening her flute-ish voice. “I apologize in advance.” Then she disappeared in a puff of smoke that smelled like honeysuckle and tasted like cotton candy.
“I didn’t even get to wish her free,” I murmured, my attention already recaptured by the bags in my hands.
I’d watched enough movies to know that she’d handed me three curses disguised as blessings, but I couldn’t imagine how anything I’d wished for could bring me anything but the deepest joy.
I don’t know how I got home but I distinctly remember placing the bags on the coffee table that I’d had since I was a child and begged off of my parents when I finally got my own place.
I opened the white bag. Sugar spilled out, tiny diamonds glimmering against the dark wood and scratched glass inlays. The chocolate flowed up in chunks and nuggets – dark, milk, white. Some with nuts, with raisins, with pretzels, some just smoothest and creamiest dreams the angels ever breathed into existence. I had to close the bags again, to halt the conjuration, but I reveled in the luxury of having as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted.
With some trepidation, I turned to the final bag. Harry Hamerton was my boyfriend in kindergarten; my first and purest love. The genies with their tricky wishes – would multiple Harry clones spill out until I closed the bag again? Would it be just one Harry, but the version of him that I fell in love with in the first place; me in my early twenties, him still tying his shoes with the bunny-ear method? I hadn’t seen Harry in almost twenty years, what if he’d died young; his dead body was in the bag, half-decomposed, with teams of maggots crawling out of his orifices?
Was that the curse? To spend the rest of my life imagining worst-case scenarios, and never opening the bag? To hell with that! With trembling fingers, I slid the ruby heart bead down the lace ribbon holding the bag shut. I stood back and held my breath.
The bag dissolved and morphed into a cloud of musky smoke. And then Harry was there, holding my hands. And he was smiling and a grown-up and handsome and alive. I looked into his eyes and my heart stopped, and then sank, and then shattered into a million pieces when I realized the magnitude of my mistake.
Harry’s loving gaze took on a quizzical cast. “Are you okay, my darling?” he asked.
I nodded numbly, wishing I couldn’t see that red, heart-shaped sparkle in the middle of his left pupil. I’d wished for Harry, and I’d gotten him. But Harry hadn’t wished for me.
This post generated by Opening Line prompt from: https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/opening-line/