In October last year, David invested in some high-end wands. They use material that is weighty enough to feel significant but also light enough where you can wield the wand easily if you have reasonable wrist dexterity. The designs etched into the wood are intricate. They were part of our Halloween costume.
We store these wands in some nice cardboard boxes. They are on the shelf next to our daughter’s high chair. Last month her hands were messy with yogurt, and she leaned over and grabbed one of the boxes. She turned the box in her hands, making sure to trace along the edges and leave a strong coat of yogurt on one side.
David was really upset when he saw what happened. I was defensive though, replying, “Why are you mad at me? She did this!” Our daughter watched us have a heated exchange.
“These aren’t toys!” David said finally, and walked away. We hid the boxes.
Anyway, a few years from now our daughter is going to find these boxes and open them. She will see the wands. And she’s going to remember her parents arguing over them, and her father declaring, “These aren’t toys.”
For a little while, she will not tell us that she has found the wands, because she will know she was not supposed to be snooping. She will keep the secret. A few days will pass, then weeks, then months. She’ll watch us closely this entire time. She’ll rationalize that we don’t use magic because our wands are stored in the boxes, so we can’t. She’ll ask about our histories, our parents, where we came from, where they came from. She’ll read books on magic. Picture books, maybe, depending on how old she is when she finds the wands.
Maybe she’ll ask us what we think of wizards. David will say, “Wizards are great!” But I’ll look off in the distance, wistfully.
When she’s a pre-teen, we will all have some sort of argument. She’ll yell, “YOU ALWAYS LIE TO ME!” and we’ll say, “What? How could you say that?”
She’ll continue, “I KNOW YOUR SECRET!”
And we’ll look at each other, because maybe by then we actually have a secret, like tax fraud or something.
And then we’ll wait to hear it, because we’re not dummies. We wouldn’t volunteer a secret to a pre-teen.
And then, she will look us in the eye, and she will say,
“I know you are wizards.”
And we’ll gasp, “Are we wizards?!” We’ll each point to each other and mouth a whisper, “Are you a wizard?”
Then I’ll tell her to sit down. It’s time for a family meeting.
We’ll tell her everything.
We will explain that 827 years ago, has it been 827 years already?!, there was a war between wizards and humans. We sided with the humans. Humans lost. Why would humans think they could win against wizards? Hubris. Anyway as punishment our powers were revoked and we have to live among humans. She’ll ask if we’re immortal. We’ll say yes. She’ll ask if she’s immortal. We’ll say no. She’ll ask about the wands. “Relics,” we’ll explain. “Couldn’t cast a spell even if we wanted to.”
Then we’ll lean back, and let her process everything she just heard. “No more secrets,” we’ll say to her, “now you know everything.”
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