The Wand

January 23, 2012
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The two futons that my sister, Zoey, and I slept on, when we were little, were set next to each other on the floor. Above them was a red lamp that washed the little room with a soft pinkish hue. My sister, my dad and I cuddled together, reading the story of Pinocchio, in which Pinocchio’s friends get turned into donkeys.
Later that week, the three of us- my dad, my sister and I- were playing in my and Zoey’s room with wands and costumes. I was a fairy, and then a witch, or a little girl running from the witch, when my sister decided it was her turn to be evil. Then, suddenly inspired by Pinocchio, I had a wonderful idea. I turned on my dad and with a wave of my sparkly, pink wand I said, “Abracadabra, you’re a donkey!” Immediately, he got down on all fours and started braying and kicking about. At first it was funny to see my usually proper dad being so silly, but after a couple minutes it got old. “Daddy, stop!” I cried.
A pronounced “Hee-haw” was his response.
“Stop it, Daddy!” I tugged on his shirt to make him stand up, but, given his size and mine, he didn’t budge. “Please, Daddy, it’s not fun anymore!” Suddenly, I became frantic. What if my wand was real? What if I had actually turned Daddy into a donkey like in Pinocchio? I wanted him back! I didn’t even like donkeys! I began to cry, because I missed my real Daddy. “Daddy!”
“Bprprprprprpr. Hee haw!” was the unwelcome reply.
“Daddy,” I sobbed again, “stop it!”
“Kate,” Zoey pouted, “turn him back!”
I looked down at the wand in my hand. It no longer looked like a fun toy; it was a weapon that I had hurt Daddy with. It was a horrible, terrifying thing and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I dropped it to the ground. “No!” I cried, “I can’t!”
I didn’t understand why my dad didn’t stop. The wand must have worked! After several torturous minutes of crying and freaking out, my sister took control and seized the wand from the floor. She quickly pointed it at my dad and cried, “Abacadaba, Daddy!” He brayed one last time and then shook, as if the spell were being lifted, before he stood up and swooped me up in his arms.
He never admitted that the wand had not, in fact, turned him into a donkey. Never again did I wave that wand, or any other wand, if I could help it. I kept it safely hidden away in the bottom of the dress-up bin, until I pulled it out many years later and threw it in a bag for Goodwill. To this day, I still have a small part of me that believes that was not just a toy, and that something real actually happened that afternoon. I don’t know if I will ever look at a toy wand the same again.

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