(Originally written: December 26, 2019)

When you love a wizard, one with the Sight, you should take care to listen to their word choice. They can’t always tell you what the future has waiting for us. But they often drop hints. If they’re as dramatic as the man I love, it’s a guarantee they’ll do so. 

“I love you more than life itself.” He’d say. Not every time we affirmed our love for each other. Just often. Then he would touch my cheek, cradling my face in the palm of his hand, and smile. When he looked at me during those moments, he looked happier than when he was casting magic.

Oh the things he’d do with his magic. He’d crouch over flowers wilting on a summer day and trace their dim petals, speaking in a language that sounded like the patience of a tree, and slowly the flowers would return to the life they were preparing to lose. They start glowing gently as if they had a light of their own. And while he walked away, they would turn to feel him go.

He’d walk out into gentle snowfalls with his arms helds out with their palms facing the clouds above. He’d laugh, the sound cutting the air like an icicle, before waving at the sky. Then he’d bring his hands close to his face with their palms facing each other. In the gap, floating, would be snowflakes. He’d whisper to them quickly before clasping his hands together. Then he’d walk to me, bow, and hold out his right hand. In it would be a large flower bud carved from ice. Once it was in my hand, the bud would open, the ice would melt, and I would be holding a real rose. A thorn never pricked me.

I always forget to turn the vent on while cooking. Inevitably the spices riding atop the steam would make me cough. He’d come and take my chin into his hand. He’d squeeze his throat with his free hand before leaning in toward my lips.  “My dearest fool” he’d smile before sucking in. The cough would leave me and go into him. But he never coughed. He’d always turn away and breathe it back out. I could get a glimpse of the steam before it dissipated. The vent would be turned on with the slight press of his finger and he’d return to his office.

I asked him, when he first showed me his magic, how he did those things and if I could ever do them. He said I had potential but that I think too much. Though I could reduce the world into simple parts, I never understand it. I know the world. How kind it could be and how cruel it could be. But I do not understand it. When I told him that didn’t make any sense he laughed and pulled a coin out from behind my ear. “How’d I do that?” He asked. I told him he was a wizard. He shook his head and said that anyone with a coin could do it. That night was also when he first said he loved me. The second time he said it, a few weeks later, he said “I love you more than life itself.” I partially lied when I said he looked happy in those moments. That first time he said that prophetic line, he had looked so sad that I thought he regretted admitting his love for me. I was too scared to question it so I simply said it back to him. 

He pulled a coin out from behind my ear and gave it to me.

I got sick five years ago. He was able to breathe away the coughing and dance his fingers over my body in a way that made the ache disappear. The cough always came back. The ache always came back. One night, I woke up to him holding his hand on my bare chest. Right over my heart. Thinking he was trying something new, I laid there silently. Even in the dark of our bedroom I could see his eyes. They glowed with a gentle light of their own, just like the precious flowers he saved. When his eyes dimmed, for more than a second, I got worried. But the light came back so I remained quiet. He laid down next to me afterwards and went to sleep while I watched him. I understood then that something was wrong. When I reached out to touch him, his skin was cold. There was no breath to make his chest rise. 

Bashir was gone. Traded his life for what he loved more.

For a long time, I did not change with the seasons. I remained Bashir’s fool. Through april’s showers, to august’s harvest, to december’s snows, to april’s showers… His office became my home. In it were tomes, scrolls, scribbles on notebook paper, and even pdfs on his computer. They gave me knowledge on magic in a way that his vague answer never did. But that’s all they did. I know that to breathe life back into a flower, you must give it in the form of your breath and the patience of your soul. To create life from snow you must assert your confidence that it had made a mistake; that it was not ice at all but a flower as warm as a meadow. To draw a cough from someone you must remind their body that it can expel maleficence in a much calmer way. To trade your life for another, you must stop your heart and ask it to beat for someone else. 

I couldn’t replicate any of it. Flowers in my garden live only as long they should and ice only melted in my hands. I began remembering to turn the vent on.

After growing frustrated one afternoon I went on a walk. Despite being the edge of winter, the cold persisted. Of course that meant that children were playing. A few were crafting a snowman. Their small, gloved hands packed snow as tightly as they could while giving orders to their friends. They looked happy as can be. To anyone else, the snowman they were building was lifeless. A caricature of a man. To the children, he was a friend. His twig arms spread wide and eager for an embrace. A smile made of pebbles that gave kindness to its stone eyes. They worked on him with such eagerness it was hard to not smile. To see the innocence children could have in making their own magic. A joy you can only find in creation.

A snowball hit me in the face. When I turned to find the culprit, I saw a guilt stricken face and her intended target on the ground after having dodged the attack. She ran to me immediately shouting sorry, eyebrows furrowed with worry and scared eyes expecting an angry adult. I just smiled at her happily. 

And pulled a coin out from behind her ear.