As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in the Midwest surrounded by lovely lakes, but I never saw a beach until I was in college. This made shells that didn’t come from a snail, rather mysterious and cool. When I was little, my mother once made little cloth unicorn ornaments, using those elongated conical shells for the horn. For a period of time, I was convinced that these came from actual tiny unicorns. Though the idea of unicorns existing was already amazing to consider, the thought of miniature unicorns was somehow more magical. We would often get shells from friends, who could afford to travel to beaches, and I loved examining them all. Once, as a kid, I found a shell that resembled a genie’s lamp and was certain if I made a wish while holding it that it would come true. I figured I would only get three wishes, since that’s how all the stories seem to go. So, I closed my eyes and made my first wish.
The first wish was small, something just to test the waters and see if the genie was actually listening. I think it was something about being able to stay up late and watch a scary movie. Weirdly, I can’t remember the precise wish, because what I remember most is that is actually did come true. Of course, it was merely a matter of coincidence and my mother saying “yes” to my request, but it felt like magic. The shell was real and there were two more wishes that it could grant. It was several weeks before I made the next wish, mostly because I couldn’t quite decide on exactly which one to choose. Before I had time to pick something incredible, I ended up having to take a test I hadn’t studied for so I quickly wished that I would get an “A” on the test. This was a silly waste of a wish, but when I received my grade and saw that I had indeed aced the test despite having no idea what it was about, I was convinced. I had a genie! But, only one wish left.
I agonized over what to choose even more this time as the stakes had been raised considerably. This is where one wishes for money, of course, or something truly grand, but for some reason I didn’t ask for that. I was an awkward child without a ton of friends and so, when I closed my eyes to make a wish, I asked for a best friend. When I opened my eyes I knew this was another stupid waste of a wish. The genie could never make someone like me most. I moped around for days after that, as no kid at school treated me any differently than before. But one day soon after, I came home to learn that my mother was getting me a dog. It turned out to be a little white scruffy thing that I quickly named Dandy because that was the dog in a story I was reading. We became fast friends and though it wasn’t what I had in mind when I made my wish, it was exactly what I needed at the time. Sometimes, we don’t know what to actually wish for, but we always know when our wishes have come true. Perhaps is was all just coincidence, but when I think back, I’d rather remember it as that magical time when I found the genie in the shell.