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art by Justine McGreevy

Fantasies

Jasmine lives in Egypt, where she spends her time hiding from the sun, ignoring her homework, and staring at a page until the muse strikes. She likes to pretend she's a writer and appreciates it when people play along.
Her eleventh birthday came and went, with no sign of a Hogwarts letter.
But that was okay. Hogwarts was in the UK, so why would they send her a letter? There must be another magical school in America, and they probably took older students.
So she waited. And waited. Her twelfth birthday came and went, then her thirteenth.
But that was okay, because talking lions were much more interesting. Every night she clambered out of bed and peeked into her wardrobe, trying to catch the winter wonderland unaware. She searched in her parents' wardrobe, in cupboards, drawers, even ovens.
Her fourteenth birthday came and went, with no sign of Narnia.
But that was okay, because her eccentric uncle had returned from far away lands. Any day now, he was going to give her a mysterious magical artifact that would send her on weird, wondrous adventures.
Any day now.
Aaany day.
Her fifteenth birthday came and went, and the most interesting thing her uncle gave her was a pair of shoes that didn't transport her anywhere.
But that was okay, because a new boy transferred to her school. He was very pale, very handsome and very promising as far as magical potential went. She watched the boy intently for weeks, looking for any sign of fangs or sparkling.
Her sixteenth birthday came and went, and the boy came back from vacation with a tan. An admittedly gorgeous tan, but she didn't like werewolves.
Still. It was okay. There were only a few months left 'till the end of the world, due in 2012. Surely that was it? Seventeen was the age of miracles, after all. Surely she would save the world.
With her two friends (read: sidekicks) she searched for clues, and even put together a survival pack of dried foods, flashlights, matches and the like.
Her seventeenth birthday came and went, and 2012 passed by uneventfully. She stayed up, staring at the night sky, but there were no aliens. No giant robots. No evil wizards and no mysterious magic.
And it wasn't okay.
Heaving a sigh, she turned her back on the window and returned to bed. Then she remembered the survival pack, stuffed in the bottom of her wardrobe. She took it out and put everything back in its place, except for the chocolate, which she munched as she trudged to bed.
Her eighteenth birthday came. There was a party, with her two sidekicks, the tanned boy and her eccentric uncle. There were no crises, no disasters, just cake and laughter and presents, lots of presents. Most of them, of course, were books.
She began reading as soon as they left. The usual story; a normal girl, abnormal powers, and the fate of the world on her shoulders. And yet, somehow, even though she knew how it would turn out, she couldn't help being drawn into the world. The magic. The funny sidekicks and the cute tanned boy and the eccentric grandmother, not uncle.
It was the heroine's birthday, her seventeenth, because seventeen was the age of miracles. Naturally, that was when the villain attacked and ruined the cake and burned the presents.
She looked up from her book then. Her presents were in a neat pile at her side. There were cake crumbs in her lap, and still more cake in the fridge. Her friends were all in their homes, presumably. And safe.
It was one in the morning. Her eighteenth birthday had come and gone.
And it was okay.
No, no, it was more than okay.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, May 21st, 2012


Until the age of thirteen I was fully convinced that my Hogwarts letter had gotten lost in the mail, like the girl in this story. Unlike the girl, however, I haven't given up yet. My magical destiny is out there somewhere, just you wait.

- Jasmine Fahmy

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