The funny thing about magic is how hard it is to find it.
The even more funny thing is how easy it is to lose it.
As a young child, things we did not understand were often attributed to magic. It is amusing that this magic was never bad. Only good things were magic. Perhaps this is because, for most children, bad things just didn't occur. They weren't memorable. Bad things don't happen to cute little kids. And if they do, it's not as if they understand them.
Like everything else, there is always an exception.
Clink. clink. clink.
As a child, my favourite toy was my dollhouse. It was, like most dollhouses, I imagine, made of plastic, and dreadfully heavy. It had gotten so that my family refused to put it away in it's proper cardboard box, because lifting the thing in and out of the box every single day had become tiresome.
My dollhouse was as tall as I was when I sat down. It was white, with a turquoise balcony and a pink porch. The 'roof' was turquoise and the trim was pink. And as my seven year old self, I really wanted a house just like that when I grew up.
With my dollhouse was a little family. There was a dad, and a mom, and two kids. A little girl, who was about six, like me, and a little boy who was a baby - okay, a bit younger than Brandon, my brother, granted. But I pretended quite well. The mom and the dad and the little kids were happy. I made them that way. They were my family, my responsibility. I even named the plastic people after us. And they would be happy. I always made sure of that.
Crying. The wounded howl of a confused three year old. Crashing noises.
The little plastic kitchen was always full of little plastic food, with matching plastic dishes and clear plastic glasses. The family ate together at their pink plastic table with a bouquet of purple, generic flowers made of, course, plastic, picked by little Katie each day. It never registered with me that the basket could not be emptied, that the flowers were always fake, were always the same.
Just like my plastic family.
On this particular day, I had just finished my lunch of grilled cheese and ketchup and was sitting, pushing baby 'Brandon' in a swing on the front porch using 'Daddy's' hands. I was smiling, speaking as if I were the baby and the father both. They were happy. The dad in the plastic family was there.
My dad wasn't.
Yelling. The undignified screech of my angered mother. The crash of her knocking things from the table.
It didn't matter. My plastic family was perfect. The figures in my hands never had to worry about that. The daddy went to work, but he always came home, every day, and he stayed there. He didn't leave when the mommy yelled; but then again, the mommy never yelled.
I pushed the baby a little bit harder in the swing. "Later we can go to the park!" I said cheerfully, pulling 'baby' from the swing and carrying both members of the family back around the pull-out house into the room. "But first, a nappy." I laid the baby down in his rocking cradle and pulled a blue blanket over him, setting the father in the rocking chair.
I got to my feet and moved towards the stairs. I remember being afraid.
Smack. My mother, hitting my brother across the face. Screaming; the wounded howl again as my mother dragged my brother towards the stairs leading to the basement.
He was dangerously close to the first step. My brother took a step backwards, faltered, and regained his balance, twisting so that he almost faced me at the bottom of the stairs.
"What are you DOING?" I shrieked, but my voice was drowned out by my mother's own yell.
"GET DOWN THERE!" she screamed at my brother. I ran up the stairs as my brother ran down, and we met two thirds of the way down the stairs, my brother sobbing.
"Are you okay? Do you need a hug?" I asked over her yelling.
He couldn't talk, only nod, and I wrapped my arms around him, swaying back and forth as my mother yelled.
"SHUT UP! HE DOESN'T DESERVE A HUG, WHY ARE YOU HUGGING HIM?"
I spun up the steps, between my brother and my mom, glaring. "He's my brother!" I screeched. "HE'S MY BROTHER!"
It must have been soon after this that I stopped believing in magic. Because magic wouldn't bring me this -- and it hadn't taken it away either.
I had forgotten the bear's name, and could not find my way home to the Thousand Acre wood.