Wishful thinking



When did this start happening? Who taught me to think like this? Why does my breath hitch when I glance at the clock? When did I start believing that all my problems would be solved with the ticking of time?


Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that I live in a fairytale and that my life is a Disney movie. I spend hours staring vacantly into the open midnight air, waiting for a shooting star to change my life. As if a shooting star would even be visible through decades of light pollution. 

I will not be carried away on the back of a dandelion seedling blown through the air by the anguished force of hope.


Why am I still staring at my clock? Why can’t I peel my gaze away? Why do I still think that after all these years I will still be whisked away on the first breath of a wish? I am not Cinderella. Clocks mean nothing to me. I will not be transformed by the power of time between one minute and the next, and yet I still act as if I will be. I still pretend that if I can get my wish perfectly right this time, something will happen. Something will change. Maybe I won’t be stuck here forever. 


I can’t change my life by wishing on stars. I used to think I could. I used to think that there was someone out there listening to me. I used to think that if I could make myself interesting enough I would be deemed worthy of a wish being granted. If I could wish for something so full of hope, someone out there would finally hear me.


I have spent years followed by shadows. Five years ago, a mirror shattered on my bathroom floor, so I have two years left in my sentence of bad luck, don’t I? I have been telling myself for the past two years to breathe while passing graveyards, because no bad omen is going to enter through my breath, will it? 


Friday the 13th is just a date. The full moon is beautiful not cursed, and you don’t have to get soaking wet because you don’t want to walk inside with your umbrella open, do you? It was just a mirror, it’s just a cat, you can step on the crack in the sidewalk without hurting anybody, can’t you?


A thousand golden coins glittering on the base of a fountain can’t save me from the perils of the universe. Why am I still pretending they can? Countless eyelashes were lost in my last desperate attempt for a wish to come true. I will not be carried away on the back of a dandelion seedling blown through the air by the anguished force of hope. I repeat it like a mantra so that I might finally realize it’s the truth. I will not, I will not, I will not. Why not? 


My knuckles are scabbed over from too many years of knocking on wood. My eyes are dry after decades of staring, unblinking, at a clock waiting for the minutes to tick by. Waiting to make a wish. My throat is tight with silence because if I speak of the things I want most in the world, they’ll never happen, but why not? Isn’t that just a myth? Isn’t it all just a myth?


Shooting stars, dandelions, and shimmering coins danced in the air. Fireflies and eyelashes. I don’t think I ever believed any of it. Not more than I believed three old women were waiting to cut the red string of my life or that someone out in the world is in possession of the other half of my soul. It would be wonderful to believe those things, but they’re meaningless. Poetic but Inconsequential. Futile yet beautiful. 


If I know that it’s pointless to shout wishes into the void, why am I still doing it? Why are my eyes still glued to the clock on my desk? Why can’t I look away from the second hand, forever in its endless spiral? 


If I can just get it right this one time. If I can master all the details. If I can fill my thoughts with enough longing maybe something will finally change. My mind is numb with repetition. The same things I have wished for my whole life. The same things I will always wish for. Maybe if I can just get it right this time. Maybe.


It’s one minute. It’s sixty seconds. It’s four numbers. It’s meaningless. There is no logic to back up the fact that here I am, eyes locked on my clock, anxiety rising up my throat, panicking that I won’t get my wish in on time. Panicking that it won’t work. It never has. Maybe this time.