All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Wish Girl
Author's note: I wrote this as a short story but it ended up being long. It's really not a novel, only 3 small parts, but it's over 3,000 words. The idea for this stemmed from a "what if" moment I had while lying in bed. My heart was pounding for some odd reason, and I thought "I wish my heart would stop beating," Realizing what I'd just thought, I quickly added "So fast," and then proceeded to wonder what would it be like to have all your wishes come true? What would be good? What would be bad? And hence stemmed forth "The Wish Girl"
I never believed in wishes. They were superstitious. I was too practical a girl for wishes. That is, until that day in Spanish class.
“Conjugate decir in the preterit, Marisol,” Señora said, calling me by my Spanish name. I didn’t know the answer.
I wish I were invisible, I thought miserably as I slumped lower in my seat. That’s about when the fingers started pointing, jaws began dropping, and when Señora started screaming.
“What?” I said, standing up. “What?” I looked around the room. Several of the guys were bug eyed, and there was quite a bit of frightened whispering going on between the popular girls in the back row. Some of the girls looked just plain scared. People were gasping in disbelief. Ashley looked ready to faint.
Wow. I didn’t know we were in drama class.
All eyes were on me. I looked down at myself, wondering what I’d done. That’s when I saw it.
Or rather, didn’t see it. I didn’t see anything. I was not there! I really was invisible.
I couldn’t think with all this screaming. I needed to sit down. I wish they’d stop screaming, I thought. Immediately, the screaming stopped. Okay. What is going on…? I thought, sinking back into my chair. How did I do that? I just wished I… I paused, thinking hard, knitting my invisible eyebrows together. Then I had a brilliant idea. I wish I weren’t invisible. I looked down and saw myself reappear. What a relief.
The room erupted in whispers. “Hey, did you see what I saw?” “Did you see what Caitlynn did?” “She totally made herself go invisible!” “Creepy!” “Look at Señora! She’s gonna faint!”
It did look as if my little- well, whatever you want to call it, illusion, I guess, had left our Señora a little woozy.
“I’m fine,” Señora said, sounding steadier than she looked. “Marisol, will you please conjugate decir for us now?”
“Dije, dijiste, dijo, dijimos…” I began. I had peeked at Ashley’s notebook while I was invisible. I knew the answer now. “Dijisteis, dijeron.” I finished triumphantly. Then I sat back in my seat and waited for class to continue. But the class just couldn’t get over what I’d done. I guess having one of your classmates, who you might classify in the “invisible” group at school actually go invisible wasn’t something you’d see every day.
And then there was this whole deal with the wishing. Did this mean that whatever I wished for would come true? I decided to experiment one more time. “I wish everyone would just forget this ever happened,” I whispered.
The result was quite satisfactory. Girls whispering in the back suddenly asked, “What were we even talking about, anyway?” Señora asked me to conjugate decir again. Of all the Spanish verbs, decir is going to be the only one I’ll ever remember. But then again, all I have to do is wish that I could speak Spanish, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I could get used to this wish girl thing.
“So, you’re telling me that whatever you wish for comes true?” Sandry was asking me incredulously at lunch the next period.
“Yes! I’m not kidding you! I went invisible in front of the whole Spanish class, Cassandra, just by wishing.”
“Don’t call me Cassandra!” Sandry demanded. “Then how come no one is talking about it?”
“I wished they’d all forget,” I answered simply.
“Sure,” she said sarcastically.
“Sandry, you’ve got to believe me!” I pleaded. “Come on; ask me to wish for anything! I dare you!”
“Oh…all right. Wish that Peter Kurten would ask me out,” Sandry said with a smug smile on her face. Peter Kurten was only the most popular guy in the school, and Sandry’d had a crush on him since, like, forever.
“Okay. I wish that Peter Kurten would ask Sandry Jenkins out,” I said, and waited for Peter to come over to our table. Nothing happened.
“See, I told you. Don’t you lie to me, Caitlynn Grey. I don’t lie to you.”
Maybe I’d already lost my power.
Or maybe Señora was so boring I’d actually fallen asleep and dreamt the whole thing.
I had been experimenting all night. Sandry hated me and refused to talk to me for lying to her. I’d also learned a few things about this newfound power of mine. Like that I couldn’t wish that Rico would put a sock in it when he was being obnoxious. Poor Rico had to brush his teeth 5 times to get the dirty gym sock smell out of his mouth. And I had to be careful not to wish something stupid, like I were a bird or fish, since it would come true. To tell you the truth, this new power really scared me sometimes. Before you can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” once, I could save the world, establish world peace and end world hunger all with a few words. I could wish away diseases; I could get rich by charging people for their wishes, like a little genie for hire. And just as quickly, I could destroy the world. Needless to say I was extremely frightened by the power I held.
In the meantime, I could keep my little brother out of my hair. But do I really want to control people’s minds? Do I want to become someone like that?
Just then, my phone rang. I picked it up and Sandry screeched in my ear. “You’ll never guess what happened!”
“Peter Kurten asked you out,” I guessed dryly.
“How did you know? Are you a physic now, too?”
“No, but all my other wishes have come true. Rico put a gym sock in his mouth. I guess it just took time.”
“Whoa… I’m sorry I was harsh and mean…” She sounded like Lily Maskavitz on Princess Diaries when she finds out Mia is a princess. I let her apologize and was glad to have my only friend back. After a few excited minutes and some suggestions on what to wear (mostly my clothes) to her first date with Peter, I hung up and went to help my mother make dinner.
“What’s for dinner?” I asked. “I wish…” I began. I was going to say “we were having lasagna,” my favorite food, but my mother cut me off.
“Be careful what you wish for, Caitlynn,” she warned.
“'Cuz it just might come true?” I finished for her. “Believe, Mother, I know.” She looked confused for a moment, but then went back to making dinner. It was not lasagna. Did I really want to take advantage of all this? I don’t want to be an all powerful dictator with the world at my fingertips. It seems like cheating. Everyone else has to work hard to succeed and all I have to do is wish? It’s just not fair. It’s not like they have a choice. Do you really think Rico would voluntarily put Dad’s dirty gym sock in his mouth just because I wished he would? No way. And I could make people do things like that. I could wish people would kill themselves, and they would. It was like a backwards Ella Enchanted. Instead of being choice-less, I was choice-full, and I held the potential future of the world on my little 10th grade shoulders. Okay, this is scaring me. When I got this wishing power, did I get enhanced thoughts or something? I never used to be so philosophical. Great, now I’m using huge words, too.
With every new day that passed, I scared myself more and more. I found myself wasting my power making people do stupid things and then forget it ever happened. I felt like I was losing sight of what was important. I had to have been given this gift for a reason other than making bullies dance around like little undignified cows. No offense to cows.
I had found no limit on my power. So far, anyway. I hadn’t wished for anything huge- my biggest wish had been for Sandry. I felt guilty for not helping the people of the world. But what would happen if I wished that there were no more world hunger? Would I upset the balance of the world or something? Would there be a domino effect or what? I could change the world.
And yet, I did absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada. Diddly-squat. The angel on my shoulder lectured me each day, adding more guilt to my already guilty-enough conscience. You need to help people, Caitlynn. You have an opportunity that no one has ever had before in history. You can change the world, make a difference. And yet, you are using this only for your own good. It’s fine that you want to help yourself, but can’t you be generous?
Leave me alone, I told Miss Wings. Just leave me alone! What am I supposed to do? Just wish the world would be a happy place where everyone eats rainbows and poops butterflies?
Maybe, the invisible, intangible angel said softly. What happens when your power runs out? She did have me there. It’s become too much of a crutch for you. What will you do when all of a sudden none of your wishes come true anymore?
I won’t lose my power, I thought defiantly. If thoughts can even be defiant.
It’s your power, all yours, the devil snarled, well, devilishly, evilly. Use it for whatever you want. His tone was enticing and alluring, entrancing, trying to lure me into the depths of Hell.
I didn’t want to do what the devil on my shoulder said, but I didn’t want to do what the angel said either. Even though he hadn’t said as much, I knew if I let the devil know I was listening to him, he’d put ideas of world chaos in my head. And before I realized it, I would have wished to destroy the world. So what does Miss Procrastinator Caitlynn do? I ignored both of them. Maybe this wishing thing wasn’t all I’d thought it was. What if it was a curse, instead of a gift?
Be careful what you wish for… my mother’s voice echoed in my head. You just might get it.
The devil and the angel refused to let up. I saw them in my dreams; I heard them in my head. (I want to know how God deals with all that constant squabbling!) Sandry, who now believed me without a shred of doubt tried to get me to wish all sorts of things for her, like new clothes and jewelry. When I refused she accused me of being a cheater. The saddest thing was that I’d lowered my morals so much that I couldn’t honestly deny it. I did, of course. Because lying wasn’t against my new morals.
I hated myself for letting things get so bad. I had no second thoughts about controlling people’s minds. I thought it was funny to make teachers cancel tests, not give out homework, or let us get away with sleeping in class. People were constantly after me. They called me the Wish Girl. I couldn’t make them forget about my wishes anymore. It just didn’t work right. There weren’t any limitations, but that didn’t mean that there weren’t complications. I still didn’t know the full extent of my power and was too lazy to find out. Now I look back and realize that my wishes were becoming like a crutch for me. Or an addiction.
One day before school started, there was a usual line of kids with their fees, ready for their wishes to come true. When I entered, they all crowded around me. They wouldn’t leave me alone. Today’s crowd was especially loud, rowdy, obnoxious- like a thousand Rico’s I didn’t know what to do with. “I wish” I yelled as loud as I could, not even realizing what I was saying. I vaguely saw a very panicked Sandry trying to reach me through all the kids. “I wish everyone would just leave me alone!”
Immediately kids began talking among themselves. It was like I wasn’t even there, invisible again. They ignored me but never ran into me. They hadn’t forgotten me; I heard them discussing what they were going to wish for. Naomi was talking to a Greek girl called Alethea. “I’m wishing for my parents to stop fighting,” she said.
“I’m wishing for my dad to get a job,” Alethea replied softly, a tear fighting its way out of her eye.
“I wonder where Caitlynn is.” Naomi mused.
“Yeah, she’s usually here by this time,” Alethea said. “I hope she’ll grant my wish. My dad’s been laid off for almost a year.”
“I’m right here!” I said, panicked, realizing what I’d done. “I wish you’d hear me! I’m right here!” The two girls moved on. My wish had not come true. How could I be so BLIND?!?! People were having huge issues and I’m wishing for slackers to get A’s in Chemistry! I can’t believe I’d ignored all this before. And Sandry. What did she want? I followed her, like a ghost in the chaotic halls.
I made all sorts of wishes that morning. Not a single one of them came true. I wished that Alethea’s dad would get a job, that Naomi’s parents would stop fighting, for world peace, for everything I could possibly imagine. “Is this punishment for taking advantage of my talents?” I screamed at no one in particular, slamming my fist against someone’s locker during passing time. No one noticed me, not even the animals in the science room. They all left me alone. “I wish everyone would stop leaving me alone!” Nothing happened.
As the bell rang and the hall emptied, I sank down in one of the chairs lining the hallway. I took inventory of all the wishes I’d made since discovering this “gift” of mine. Stupid, worthless rubbish, temporary crap that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone in a year. The only wish I didn’t regret was that Peter would ask Sandry out. I’d never wished he’d keep dating her, or that he’d fall in love with Sandry. That was all them; I just gave them the boost they needed. Sandry wasn’t overly popular and if I’d never wished Peter would ask her out, he never would have met her. Now that I thought about, I realized that might just be what my wishes were for in the first place. Not to do things and cheat for you, but just give you a little boost. A little hope, a little encouragement. A little fantasy that somewhere in the world, wishes still came true.
I needed to find Sandry. I knew how I could break my wish. With hers. I ran to her class- Geography this hour. I caught our teacher writing her a pass to go to the bathroom. She looked sick. As soon as the door closed to the classroom behind us, she ran down the hall towards the bathroom, and I followed. She entered the first stall, the handicapped one. I didn’t follow her in there, obviously. She threw up. When she had finished, she began to cry. “Caity, I need a wish. Where are you when I really need a wish? I wish you were here. I wish I knew where you were. I wish I were you.”
“No you don’t,” I mumbled. I crawled under the bathroom door. “As for your other wishes, consider them granted. I’m right here.” I didn’t wish once.
Sandry seemed to feel that there was someone there. “Are you there Caity? Are you pulling another invisible stunt? I wish you’d snap out of it.”
I immediately, involuntarily, shook my head. Was this how Rico felt when I wished him to put a sock in it? Like you couldn’t do a thing about it? When my head stopped shaking, Sandry was staring at me. She was speechless, staring right into my hazel eyes, soaking up my image- two miniature braids framing a small face and shoulder-length light brown hair. I smiled. “No, but people were leaving me alone. I didn’t like it. These wishes really take things literally, I guess.”
“Couldn’t you just un-wish it?” Poor Sandry, having such a freak of a friend as me.
“Nope, I found my limits. It was too powerful a wish for me to break.”
“Yet I could…” Sandry seemed lost in thought. “Does that mean I’m a wish girl, too?”
“I don’t know,” I said honestly. She ignored me and tried her very first wish.
“I wish I weren’t pregnant,” she said. My eyes bugged out. I might have pulled an Ashley and fainted right then and there if I were a weaker girl. Sandry took out a few home pregnancy tests from her fashionable book bag and did one. “It didn’t work,” she said, looking hurt and confused. “Wish it for me, Caitlynn!” Sandry pleaded. “Say 'I wish Sandry wasn’t pregnant!' Say it, Caity, say it!” She was near hysterics.
“No,” I said stubbornly. I was getting my morals back. I could almost feel the angel beaming on my shoulder. “Is it Peter’s?” She nodded. “Have you told him?” She shook her head.
“Wish it,” she sobbed weakly. I shook my head. “I’m just going to get rid of it,” she said stubbornly, as if a new strength had infused itself into her defiant blue eyes. I opened my mouth to begin. “No! Don’t even think it!” Sandry wailed, sensing what I was about to do.
“I wish you wouldn’t kill your child, Sandry,” I said anyway, sweetly, but with an iron undertone. “And I wish you’d tell Peter. He’s a good guy- he’ll help you. I know he will. He loves you, you know.”
“But does he love me enough?” Sandry wisely realized that there was no persuading me.
“But how do you know?”
“You don’t notice how he just can’t make you happy enough? How he spoils you? How you both get all giddy in each other’s company. Sandry, it’s painfully obvious. The most popular guy in school is in love with you. And I don’t know how, but I know it’s real. It’s just a feeling, but it’s as real as wishes.”
“But…” Sandry began, tears drying.
“Sandry, wishes can’t fix everything. I know that now. I had to learn the hard way, but you don’t.”
“But you’ll never have any problems, Caitlynn! You’ll never have to work hard at anything like the rest of us! All you have to do is wish it!” Sandry accused. “You’ll always have it easier than the rest of us!”
“I know. And I’m not going to take an advantage of it anymore, I promise. Didn’t you just hear my last wish?”
We hugged, and after a moment, I made her another promise. “When the baby’s born, I’ll wish anything you’ll ever need. Like diapers. Lots of them.”
Sandry smiled and she couldn’t resist laughing, her hand on her belly. I laughed with her.
And you know what? I wish everyone could feel the way I do right now.