Abigayle Benton sat at her father’s rolled-top desk. It was entirely too big for her. Or maybe she was just too small for it. But she loved it all the same.
Her father was dead. So, he didn’t use it anymore. Her mother grieved every time she looked at it. So, she didn’t use it either.
Abigayle used it. But she did not use it for writing letters like her mother would have or sending out bills the way her father had. No. Her father’s rolled-top desk was her cavern of secrets.
Especially one secret.
She kept that secret locked in the third drawer down – the drawer with the owl lock on its metal centerpiece.
She had found that special secret on a warm summer night.
Abigayle had chased dragonflies during the sticky hot day and fireflies during the warmed blanket evening. She meant them no harm. She didn’t even touch them. But there was a great thrill in running into a crowd of them and seeing them disperse. She believed that there was a force field around her – one that repelled certain flying insects, but not doting mothers. It apparently was a very particular force field.
Or perhaps it was slightly damaged.
She didn’t worry about it. She ran and played and laughed in the grassy field in the back yard. Her mother stood by, smiling and watching.
Then, her mother looked away for one second.
A bit of gold sequined magic fell from the sky. It sparkled and sheened, shimmered and shined.
Abigayle ran to it without question. She caught it in her bare hands.
It was a small golden star. Just like the ones Miss Celeste stuck on Abigayle’s schoolwork. The good schoolwork, anyway. The bad ones didn’t get any stars. Not even red stars.
Abigayle turned it gently in her hands. It felt strange and wonderful. Like many daydreams lying in the sun. Like giddy laughter and joyful music. Like jumping into a cool pool on a hot August noon.
Her mother came. “What is it?”
Abigayle cupped her hands closed. Showing it to her mother felt wrong. Like betraying a secret. “It’s magic. Magic for only me.”
Her mother didn’t understand, but she smiled. “Then, it is best to put it in your pocket and save it for a rainy day. Those are the days when you need magic the most.”
That was back then.
And this was now. The present. The right now.
She needed the magic.
She unlocked the drawer by sticking the key into the owl’s beak and turning a sharp right.
The drawer popped open by two inches.
Abigayle thought about her father.
She thought about her mother.
Sometimes she seemed gone in her grief.
Yes. She needed the star’s magic.
Abigayle opened the drawer the rest of the way, almost afraid that the star and its magic was gone.
It was still there.
She took it out of the drawer with gentle fingers and soft touch. She held it cupped in her hands.
And it felt like it did before.
Joy. Ecstatic beauty. Laughter. Music. Life. Love.
And she knew.
She couldn’t keep it for herself anymore.
It needed to be shared.
Abigayle carried it into her mother’s room. She could feel the beauty twinkle and sheen against her palms.
Her mother sat in a chair facing the window, but she never looked outside. She looked down at a picture of them before when magic wasn’t needed. It just was. It lived in the ceilings and the floors and spun in the carpets.
A tear tripped and tumbled down her face, but her gaze stayed below on the picture.
Abigayle gave the star one last peek before kneeling at her mother’s feet. “Mom. Look.” She opened her hands.
The star shimmered and shined, sparkled and sheened.
Her mother’s gaze moved slowly away from the picture to the shimmering life in her child’s hands. “Ahh.” She set the picture on her lap and stretched one finger towards the star.
She touched it.
“Ahh!” Something changed in her expression, in her face. She returned to life. “Oh. Oh! It’s beautiful.”
Abigayle looked up at her transformation and wanted to cry from happiness. “Yes. So beautiful.”