“Then we start now,” Mallory declared, thumping her cane authoritatively. “I will teach you how to feel your magic. If you cannot feel your magic, there’s no sense in teaching you to do anything with it.”
“Feel magic?” Evadna said, her eyebrows scrunching.
“And magic doesn’t feel universally the same to everyone. One person may feel magic as a gathering heat within their heart. To another, their magic will feel like pins and needles. Do you understand?”
“What do you understand? Explain it to me.”
Evadna gathered her thoughts, then said, “No two people feel magic the same way. It is unique to everyone.”
“Correct. Now, close your eyes.”
Complying, Evadna absently pushed a goat away that was attempting to eat her hair.
“Please picture a time in your life when you felt joy. Happiness isn’t enough. Joy is something more than happiness.”
Thinking hard, Evadna ran through several happy times in her life. None of them quite as joyful as Mallory seemed to be asking for. One memory kept popping up determinedly, though it wasn’t a joyful one. Not anymore. She pictured running into her father’s arms when he came home from work. She remembered the joy and love on his face as he looked at her. She wanted that again so bad. She wanted that to be her reality once more. She didn’t want to remember how he looked at her now, if he looked at her at all.
As if from a great distance, Evadna heard Mallory say, “Whatever memory you are experiencing right now, sink into it. Remember everything about it. Was it night? Was it day? Was there a breeze? Were you hot or cold? Were there any smells?”
It was dusk. It was always dusk when Dad came home. The smells of dinner wafted from the windows. Dad’s arms were warm despite any evening chill. His beard would lightly scratch against her cheek when he’d kiss her. She loved the feel of his beard. Sometimes he’d twirl her in the air and kiss her nose. She felt so loved.
Evadna realized her face was wet. In fact, she was wet all over.
“Evadna!” came Mallory’s sharp, urgent voice. “Don’t lose concentration. Don’t pay attention to anything but that memory.”
Focusing, Evadna remembered how one time her father had brought her a present in his coat pocket. A little doll.
“Good,” Mallory said. “Here’s the tricky part. I need you to pay attention to what you are feeling. Talk to me. Tell me all that you are feeling. Even if you can’t explain it, I need you to try.”
“Good. Keep going.”
“I feel loved. I feel cherished. I miss that. I miss him.”
“I’m sad. My heart…it hurts. A lot. There’s a – ” Evadna’s eyebrows came together in consternation.
“Don’t analyze it. Just explain it,” Mallory instructed.
“There’s a – It’s a – Music?”
“There’s a melody. A melody in my…heart? And it sings throughout my body. I can’t hear it with my ears, but it’s clear and strong.”
“Okay. Listen to the music, Evadna. Listen to that and nothing else.”
Obediently, Evadna listened, quickly falling into the melody humming through her veins. It was beautifully mesmerizing.
“I want you to hold on to that music and open your eyes. Don’t let go of it.”
Evadna didn’t think she could ever let go of the music coursing through her. She didn’t want to. It felt…magical.
She opened her eyes to see Mallory directly in front of her, entirely drenched. Her clothes clung to her, hair dripping in a sodden clump about her face.
“What happened to you?”
“Don’t let go of the music,” Mallory repeated, her face as unreadable as ever.
And in that moment, Evadna realized she had almost lost the melody. Panicking slightly, she managed to get it back. It hummed and purred and beat upon her heart, her brain, everything.
“Has the melody changed from when you first noticed it?”
Surprised to realize it had, Evadna nodded.
“Good. Well done.” Then, with a quirk to her lips, she said, “You know, if that was your idea of a joyful memory, you’ll have to revisit your vocabulary.”
“Oh, sorry. It was the one memory that kept coming to mind. I know it wasn’t joyful.”
“It’s fine, Evadna,” Mallory said in the gentlest voice Evadna had ever heard from her. “It worked. You felt your magic. That was the point of the exercise.”
“I did. I felt it,” Evadna said, amazed at what had happened. “Music,” she whispered in awe.
Mallory chuckled, distracting her thoroughly. Evadna hadn’t thought Mallory knew how to laugh on any scale.
“Music, indeed,” said Mallory. At Evadna’s sudden look of panic, she asked. “What’s wrong.”
“The music. I lost it.”
“Not for long, I’m sure.”