The Treasure Chest

Fabiha Neera January 4, 2018
Kids, Magic
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    There’s this shop that I’ve walked by, probably, thousands of times in my life. It’s nothing special, just a small, everyday antique store squeezed in between a barber shop and an old apartment building. Looking at it each time triggers a faint memory of a woman I once knew.
    ‘I was 10 years old. Walking through central downtown, I held the soft but firm hand of my mother, Caroline. She looked very radiant today, with a yellow summer dress and a bright face framed by shoulder-length brown hair tipped with soft curls. Her hazel eyes gleamed excitedly at me as we entered a small shop called The Treasure Chest. As a curious child, I stared up in wonder at all the old antiques that seemed to have travelled in time. My eyes landed on a blue pendant on the front counter, swinging like a pendulum from a spinning rack. Behind it, a middle-aged lady noticed me eyeing it and smiled.
    “This pendant carries hidden powers that will connect you to someone special. Think of that person and it will activate when the time is right.”
    “But, how is that possible?” I asked, skeptically.
    “I cannot answer that. But, you must believe it to be possible and try it. Expect the unexpected because magic is everywhere.”
    I was speechless, curious about what sort of magic this necklace could contain. My mother purchased it for me and we left this mysterious store.’
    Ever since that day, I always carried the necklace with me and remembered that woman’s words in hopes that, one day, it would come true. Of course, it was just a hoax. Now, like everyone else on the streets, I ignore the small shop and walk by it without a glance.
    . . .
    The subway dropped me off in central downtown and I walked in the direction of home. To my left, I spotted The Treasure Chest and felt the necklace grow heavy on my neck. ‘I guess I have some time to kill.’ I made my way inside the shop.
    Looking around on the shelves, I found that nothing interested me anymore- as I suspected. An old woman with greying hair who worked behind the counter saw me and called me over.
    “Need any help?” She asked, politely.
    “Not really.” I replied, but then spotted a familiar spinning rack to my right. “But, I wonder about this.” I dug out the blue pendant from underneath my shirt for her to see.
    The woman smiled brightly as she looked up at me. “Go ahead and try it. I can see you’re overpowering with curiosity.”
    And so, I did. Slipping the necklace from my neck, I reached out to hang it from the rack while thinking of someone dear to me. As if a switch was flipped, the pendant lit up into an intense, glowing blue before quickly going back to normal. At first, I was disappointed that nothing had happened, but when I looked up, the lady was gone. In fact, the whole shop had changed. Rows and rows of shelves were filled with my favourite toys from my childhood; memories filtered in of how my mother used to play with me, and I felt happiness grow inside me. I stared out the window and every person looked and dressed more formally- as if from the past century. I pulled open the shop door, and there stood my ‘special someone’.
    “Maria!” My mother looked as beautiful and young as ever as she called my name.
    . . .
    My mother and I talked for hours on end and I savoured the sweet melody of her voice. Eventually, I left after saying goodbye to her, and walked back into The Treasure Chest. Picking up the necklace, I closed my eyes and waited. When I opened them, the old woman was there, still smiling as if nothing happened.
    “You had a good time?” She asked.
    I nodded, silent, and slipped the pendant back around my neck. I felt very warm, but then became dull and cold as the bright blue hue dimmed.
    “Come back soon, alright?”
    I nodded again, smiling, and left the shop. The sky still looked very light as everyone walked past. ‘It’s like merely a second passed while I was in my dream world’ I thought, as I made my way home. All I knew was that I would definitely visit this shop again after seeing- and speaking- to my mother. Magic used to be a word used only in fairytales, a make-believe thing that didn’t exist. But, as a 10 year old kid, who wouldn’t want to be curious about the possibilities of a ‘magical’ pendant? And is it crazy that, as a 22 year old now, I’ve come to believing in that one word again? It probably is, but people who don’t believe in magic have clearly never visited The Treasure Chest before. The words of that woman from my first visit come back to me, and I held on to them, letting them bring me joy. ‘You must believe it to be possible, because it never will be if you don’t try. Expect the unexpected, for magic is everywhere.’

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