She was a short, slender lady who was doing her usual afternoon walk. She religiously hiked up this hill that overlooks the other side of the valley which gave a glimpse of a peaceful countryside. A feat for people living in this part of the city; to preserve a beautiful view brought by the bright & lush green trees and the vibrant flowing river. A remarkable beauty that she was reveling in.
Soon as she reached the top of the hill, she slumped herself under her tree. She owned that tree because she felt a sort of compatibility with it. The old roots were like soft arms comforting her, hugging her and slowing down her heartbeat brought by the physical climb up the hill. She loved the feeling of the wind touching her skin, not too cold and not too humid, which almost felt like a soft hammock covering her and swaying her to sleep.
That afternoon, she was not going to resist the invitation. She was going to take a nap and enjoy the ground supporting her body. She was going to take pleasure at the roots of her tree embracing her and the grasses warming her skin like a soft duvet until she falls asleep.
As she was starting to give in to that nap, she was abruptly woken by a strong and sudden surge of wind which urged her to come back to her senses. She opened her eyes, felt the change of breeze and heard a different kind of sound. The warm and comforting wind was replaced by a cold breeze and the chirping birds flying and playing above her tree has been taken over by the sound of splashing waves. She sat up, but was not surprised by the sudden change of setting. She teleported to a beach and it was as if, she expected this to happen, like a scene from a story she had already written. She didn’t ask any questions, instead she stood up and started finding her way back.
As she strode at the edge of the beach and enjoyed the sudden change of environment, she stumbled upon a lamp. A magic lamp. She picked it up and, like how you would watch it in the movies, blue smoke wafted out of the opening and then came out the magical djinn right after she rubbed it. Surprised? She was not. In fact, she knew exactly what would happen next.
Or, did she?
The djinn spoke, “You have one wish.”
“Wait, what? One? I thought there should be three wishes, it should be three, like in all the movies and story books!” The woman cried out.
Like the djinn did not hear anything, he continued to speak “You have to think about it very carefully because one is only what you will have.”
“But!” she began to argue but the djinn cut her off right away.
“And you can’t change your mind afterwards and take it back” he uttered.
This god-damned, crude genie! Her mind was rushing a mile a minute. This was absolutely not one of her stories... Yet for some reason, this djinn had a very soothing power in his words that made her unquestionably abide his order. ‘Make a wish’ he said, ‘but only one.’
Today she gets to make a wish she knew would definitely come true. ‘It may not have been three wishes, but one was better than nothing,’ her ever thankful heart says.
She stared at the djinn and met him in the eye. She noticed his eyes were black. His whole body was see-through blue, more like a smoke, his torso was like that of a bodybuilder, muscle-filled. He had a cute, pointed goatee and had his long hair tied up like -- yeah you guessed it -- the genie in that Aladdin movie we all loved.
He snapped his fingers and said “Hey Lady, you can’t be day-dreaming in a dream. So do you have a wish or not?”
She couldn’t believe she got distracted. Here was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wish for anything in this world but she was looking at his eyes, his skin and if not interrupted, would continue wallowing in her thoughts about what this creature is made of. This just goes to show how her mind could get easily swept away by the trivialities of life. She lacked the mindset to focus on the important matters.
“Well then, why don’t I wish for that?” she thought. “Perhaps I should wish to be strong-willed. To have that wisdom to make the right choices in life. To focus!” she said this with emphasis. “To have the power to know precisely what I want, where to go, what option to choose. To be smart enough to make the right decisions in life. To know exactly what matters and what doesn’t. Oh! this would save me from a lot of over-thinking! I would be able to know exactly what my one wish would be and for sure I will not live to regret it.”
She bit her lip and with a wrinkled forehead went into a pensive mode further. “But what should that one wish be then?”
“Ugh! Did I just create a loop here? An Inception kinda thing?” referring to the movie she watched a few years ago that she still did not understand. Finally, she felt she needed to surrender this idea. “This is going to be complicated,” she said.
For sure, she didn’t want to wish to be rich financially. She was seasoned enough to know that material things ain't worth for a one-time-wish like this. She knew she had just enough wealth to satisfy that superficial feeling for material things being a substitute of happiness. That’s because she was miserably poor once upon a time in her life but vowed that it will never happen to her again. She knew how it felt to be needy, so she made it a point to have enough money ready to share with other people who were more in-need than her. Generous enough to change people’s perspectives about giving, being a lot better than receiving. If this genie would have appeared in her 20's or 30’s, like a baby's first words, 'I want to be rich!' would have been instantly uttered by her lips.
Okay, then perhaps she should wish for love.
'Uh-oh, now here we go!'
"Wait, did the genie say that? Or me?" she was indeed still talking to herself.
Uhm, but what kind of love? True love? What is true love though? She knew of an unconditional love. The love she has for her two boys. A kind and patient love. A sacred book adored by most people she knew, further described true love as something that does not keep any records of wrong, it protects, always trusts and always perseveres. That’s the kind of love she has for her children. She was blessed to have experienced all that.
Alright so, she was resolved with the idea that she should wish for another type of love. So what about the romantic kind of love?
“Ah, of course! This surely is the one wish I should make!” like a lightbulb, she exclaimed. “I wish for someone to love me unconditionally! Someone who will love me patiently. Accept my flaws, accept my chaotic emotions, who will love the fact that I made mistakes, that I make mistakes! That I am stubborn and crazy and dramatic and...” she was determined to go on but the djinn interrupted her.
“Okay, okay, hang on!” he stretched his hand gesturing for the lady to halt from gabbing.
“This is where I stop you. You must know that I already heard it all. I was 101% sure you will come to this. Let me give you another chance to think this through. It’s not because I can’t grant your wish, but because it just doesn’t work that way.”
The lady was taken aback and started arguing with the djinn. “Why would that be?” she inquired. “Isn’t this what romantic love was all about? To have someone love and accept you, love your flaws, your past, the whole package of you? Then both of you will live happily ever after? I’ve always wanted that!”
The genie widened his eyes, well actually, he rolled his eyeballs too. He shook his head in disbelief as to why he had to explain to this human.
“Because you are putting another soul in this mix. Who is maybe as flawed as you are, who probably makes more mistakes than you do, whose pride is probably as unreachable as Mt. Everest’s summit. Someone who’s probably as broken as you. Granted, he will accept the whole of you, you must also ask the question of, are you capable of loving the same kind of person? If this is your wish, you might as well wish for a programmed robot that feels nothing and will submit to all your whims!” This djinn sounded like a therapist having a mid-life crisis, he's cranky but he made a lot of sense.
“I just want to feel loved, understood, accepted, protected” she muttered.
Crap! Choices, choices, choices! She only had one wish to make and he was definitely not making things easy for her! She scratched her head and looked down at her toes that were buried in sand by now.
“Why don’t you just wish to love yourself instead?” the djinn didn’t speak of this, she was still talking to herself. She realized she had set up quite a high standard when it comes to relationships with men. She did it to protect her heart, she didn’t want to get hurt again, so she guarded it too well. Why she felt like she was always loving the wrong men, why nothing ever worked… would be questions she couldn't answer in this lifetime.
With a faint, admitting voice she whispered “Well in fact, I do have this guy who had been putting up with my imperfections. Sure we fight, almost feels like we love hating each other. It’s always bitter-sweet with him, but I know in my heart, I am happy being with him. He's sort of like my disease, but also my cure. Come to think of it, it has been 10 years. Do you think it’s good enough years to accept that we are ‘it’? Do you think I can finally subject this to true love?”
Silence. He knew it was a rhetorical question.
“Then maybe I should wish for a time machine instead, so I could go back and correct the mistakes I have done. Make my experiences a little less painful,” she felt like granting her own wishes and justifying herself through them.
“There are no mistakes in life mon amour, only lessons,” she mumbled. “Yes, I learned my lessons, I struggled and it was painful, but I found my strength. The pain became a wonderful teacher,” she should have been a guru, she thought as her monologue went on .
She continued surfing in her thoughts. “This time machine shouldn’t only be able to make me go back to the past, it should also be able to stretch time so that I can do the things I’ve always wanted to do. Like, become a lawyer, I’ve always wanted to become a lawyer. Actually, a photographer-lawyer. Uhm, a writer-photographer-lawyer and a guitarist… a singer-guitarist,” she had to catch her breathe saying all these.
Finally, she admitted to defeat. “Damn, a time machine is not what I need, I will need another me.”
After a long pause, she went back looking at the djinn’s eyes. Then through his gentle eyes, he spoke to her and said “Are you sure about this? Is that what you are wishing for?”
“Genie, I know why you showed up on my 50th birthday. I remember now that I made this wish a long time ago. You're here not to grant it, you're here to tell me I did it.”
The genie gave her a smile, held her hand and said, "But your wish is still my command.”
The two of them walked side by side going to a place only the two of them know. Suddenly, the djinn’s smoky blue color turned to pure brilliant white. So bright that one would have been blinded looking at it.
Back at the hill, the woman returned, as a plank of wood with the engraved words that said, “Here lies a lady who had lived life to the fullest.”