Sweet temptation

Just a TASTE. Just to get you salivating for more. Mwahahahaha.

Yeah, no, this post is not about the obscene amount of candy I received for Easter. Ugh, fat attack, here I come.


We reached the north end of the Adirondack range well before noon and set out on foot, following a river that, at times, dwindled to a burbling brook and, at other times and seemingly without any warning at all, unfolded into wide blue lakes dotted with the colorful canvas sails of families and kids at summer camps enjoying themselves on the water. The clouds had finally surrendered to the sun’s advances about the same time we hit New York state, and not a wisp of white remained to mar the vast blue dome of sky.

By lunchtime, I couldn’t help wishing for a bit more cloud cover. I was sweating, if not buckets, then at least goblets, and I was on my fourth reapplication of sunscreen in half as many hours. All four of our Nalgene water bottles were empty, which meant we would have to spend the next half hour or so pumping lake water through the filters to refill them.

“Jesse,” said Dad, producing a dull and dented metal pot from our food bag. “Would you run this down to the water?”

“Sure thing, Zee,” said Jesse. He took the pot by its handle and started down the overgrown slope to fetch the water.

“I’ll go too!” I volunteered. The longing to splash cold water on my face was almost too much to bear, not to mention the brambly hill looked like a challenge and I was ready to bet Jesse I could make it up faster than he could.

“I need your help with this, Sam,” said Dad. He was crouching beside a broad stump and had the map spread out in front of him. He never let us see the map, so it wasn’t hard for him to convince me to stay.

But as soon as Jesse was out of earshot, he folded the map away and looked at me sternly. “What have I always told you about emotions, Samantha Jane?”

I was dumbfounded. He was angry with me? I opened my mouth, but no excuse came out. I wasn’t even sure what behavior I needed to excuse. I finally mumbled, “I didn’t offer to go get water so I could be alone with Jesse.”

Now it was Dad’s turn to be confused. “What are you–” He shook his head. “Never mind that, Sam. What have I always told you?”

He might as well have asked me to recite the Pledge of Allegiance for how well I knew the old rhyme. “‘Emotion fuels intention. Through intent we can invent. But caution, heart, lest subtle art spark brighter than you meant.’ So? Why do we need to talk about this?”

“Because you, my dear, are a passionate young lady. I’ve trained you well, and I can usually trust you to control yourself, but this morning, talking to Mr. Costello, I spent half the conversation keeping his finger from falling off. Any ideas about that?”

Little black spots crowded the edges of my sight and I sat down hard on the stump. I had actually done something just by wishing? Something… magic? “I… I didn’t really mean to….” I rubbed my eyes in an attempt to clear my vision and my thoughts. My own voice seemed to reach me through a long tunnel. This couldn’t be happening.

Then Dad’s voice came floating down the tunnel, calling my name. I felt his hand cover mine in the comforting way only a father’s hand knows how to do. I blinked hard and forced myself back into reality, albeit a reality that had just shifted on a fault line beneath my feet. “No harm done this time, okay?” he said. The anger was gone. “But you need to be conscious and cautious. You have more power than you think.” I nodded mutely. I wondered if he meant he was going to teach me magic. How did one go about doing magic, anyway? Was I likely to mess up again and actually cause someone harm by accident? There was so much to ask, if only my mouth would form the words!

Jesse appeared at the top of the hill and I tried to compose myself. He joined me on the stump and started pumping water through the filter while Dad searched the bags for lunch. As soon as Jesse had filtered enough water to fill a bottle halfway, he handed me a drink. “Do you have heatstroke?” he asked worriedly.

I gulped down the water. Dad hadn’t wanted Jesse to hear what he said about magic or he wouldn’t have sent him away like that, so I would have to wait until we were alone to tell him what I’d learned. “I’ll be fine,” I assured him. “Want to hand me the other filter? I can help.”

“If you’re sure….”

A minute later, Dad presented our traditional smorgasbord of crackers and condiments – cheese, pepperoni, peanut butter, honey, mustard, jelly, pickles, and, for some reason, a can of tuna fish – and we ate while we pumped water, being careful not to drop so much as a crumb of food. We had clementines and chocolate raisins to top off the meal, packed up, and set out again. I wished Dad would go somewhere else for a minute. I was dying to tell Jesse about the magic.


krystinadee said...

"Emotion fuels intention. Through intent we can invent. But caution, heart, lest subtle art spark brighter than you meantÈ


thatd be freaking sweet to have magic powers like this. usually, iève always wished for powers to fly, to become invisible, to tune into peoples thoughts, to turn into a caterpillar etc etc.
but dang, i think this new power has just topped my list :D

carlydee said...

Very nice; interesting. You went about it simply instead of making a massive deal out of it, which is definitely a better, more real way of approaching magic powers.

I was really hoping for an obscene-amount-of-candy story. Oh well. At least now I know I'm not alone. ;)

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