* * *
They would come to her at night.
She would wake from sleep and see them in her bedroom: glowing balls of light that pulsed in tune to the voices inside of them.
“I wish for true love.”
“I wish to be smarter.”
“I wish for the courage to fight my fears.”
Dana wondered what to do with them. The wishes floated around her apartment like sparkling balloons. She wasn’t annoyed by them, but their constant shining made her listless. Dana wanted to do something for these people.
It was Billy, her partner, who finally had the idea. “Why don’t you use them in a recipe?”
She looked at him, surprise written on her face. “I can’t use someone else’s wishes in a batch of cookies or a cake. That would be wrong.”
“Then what are you going to do with them? As it is, we’ll have to gather them up and keep them in the spare room.”
As the days went by and there apartment filled with more glowing wishes, Dana began to wonder if Billy’s idea would work. She wondered what would happen if someone ingested someone else’s wishes.
Dana called her friend Jessie and explained the situation. She was quiet for a moment and then said “I’ll be right over.”
Ten minutes later, Jessie was knocking at the door. As soon as Dana opened it, Jessie wrapped Dana up in a hug. “Let’s see these wishes.”
Bringing her into the spare room, Dana was again filled with a sense of wonder and delight. She was always awed by the wishing spheres. They were while there was no one in the room to hear them, but as soon as Jessie and Dana came in, they started speaking:
“I wish I could lose a few pounds.”
“I wish that my book could be published.”
“I wish for my own home.”
Jessie wandered around the room, touching the spheres with gentle care. They moved like balloons through the air and would grow brighter where they were touched. Jessie took them all in, the hundreds of wishes, some no bigger than a marble, others no bigger than a baseball. They all floated around the room as if Dana had her own solar system.
“Honey, this is beyond cool.”
“I know, right? I just wish I knew what to do with them.”
“Well, what did Billy say?”
“He said I should use them into a recipe. I would feel really weird doing that with someone else’s wish.”
“Well they came to you for a reason, Dana. Maybe you’re supposed to use them that way. You achieved your deepest wish when you were able to open up your bakery. So maybe you need to work your magic with these.” She gestured to the spheres with her right hand, letting it sweep across the room.
Dana let out a snort. “I can’t do magic.”
“Honey, listen to yourself. Of course you are. No one who bakes bread, cakes and cookies like you can be called anything but magical.”
“I’m just a baker.”
“No, it’s more than that, you don’t bake. You make the soul happy with your creations.” She gestured around the room again. “Why not use the wishes to make your creations even more magical?”
Dana reached out and touched one of the spheres. It spoke, vibrating with light and she listened to the sound of other voices from other spheres speaking their wishes aloud.
“I wish to control minds.”
“I wish for friendly encounters and happy experiences.”
“I wish for a full night’s sleep.”
Looking at all of the wishes, Dana wondered if it could be that simple. “Maybe I should make my own wish?”
“Why not?” Jessie said. “It couldn’t hurt. I’m going to stop in later for something sticky and sweet okay?” She hugged Dana hard. “Don’t worry about this. It’ll sort itself out. You just have to believe.”
After Jessie left, Dana started to get ready for the day. Billy had breakfast waiting for her when she got out of the shower.
He gave her a cup of coffee and kissed her softly. “Hey hot stuff. Big day today?”
“Not so bad, just a few orders to finish and a few new treats to make. Have to get started on the day’s batches of bread and cakes. You know, the usual.”
“Have you figured out what to do wish the wish balloons?”
“Not yet. Jessie agrees with you that I should try to put them in a recipe somehow.”
“See, I’m clearly brilliant.”
“I knew that already.” She took a sip of her coffee. “I just wish I knew what to do.”
At those words, the spheres started to flow out of the spare room and began to swirl around Dana in the kitchen. They all pulsed with light and the kitchen was filled with a chorus of voices.
“I wish to hear from friends I’ve not seen since childhood.”
“I wish to have more financial freedom.”
“I wish for intense close connections.”
“I wish for happiness in my life.”
“I wish I could love myself more.”
“I wish I was rich and famous.”
Dana and Billy looked at the swirling spheres with growing awe. The both stood in the centre of the mail storm, motionless and quiet, the humming of the spheres growing louder as they got closer.
The wish sphere’s surrounded Dana and began swirling around her, faster and faster as a sphere, larger than the rest, appeared in her hands. A voice spoke from inside of it; her voice: “I just wish I knew what to do.”
The sphere in Dana’s hands opened, as if something was pushing back a lid. Then the wish sphere’s around her began to grow smaller and smaller, shrinking in size, until the air was filled with a fine dust. It looked as if the air was filled with sparkles or wonder dust.
As Dana watched, the glittering dust began to slide into the sphere she was holding it, filling it with other people’s wishes given form. As the dust flew into the sphere, a soft musical tinkling filled the air along with the sounds of people’s voices.
“I wish for a long life.”
“I wish I was thinner.”
“I wish I was smarter.”
The music filled the air with what sounded like the tinkling of stars. It intensified in volume, growing louder, until all the wish dust filled the large sphere she was holding. When the last grain of wishes had settled in the sphere, a loud sound like a gong filled the air and then everything went quiet.
Dana and Billy regarded the sphere with wonder. It was glowing slightly and gave off a faint light that made Dana think of fireflies at night time. The air was still now and Dana and Billy just looked at the orb, taking it all in.
“What happened?” Dana asked.
“You made a wish.” Billy said.
“Obviously. But what do I do with it?”
“I’m going to follow my hunch here.” He walked over and dipped a finger in the sphere. He took his finger out and it was covered in sparkles. “Bottoms up.” He said, putting the fingertip to his tongue. “I thought so.”
“What’s it taste like?”
“Like sugar, but lighter. Stevia maybe? Try some.”
Holding the sphere carefully, Dana did so. The wishes tasted softly sweet and filled her with an instant lightness, as if her spirit was filled with brightness. She was reminded of every great thing that had ever happened to her, along with a few memories that had yet to happen.
“You have to do something with this.” Billy said. “You have to share this with others. I think that’s why it was given to you.”
“I know just what I’m going to do.”
Jessie met her at the bakery an hour later. Dana had already made a huge batch of cake batter by then and was starting to fill cupcake trays with the batter.
“I came as soon as I could. You said you decided what to do with the wishes?”
“Yep, I’m going to spread the magic around so that others can experience it. Hopefully, the people who made the wishes will have their wishes answered this way.”
She motioned to the sphere of wishing dust. “It keeps refilling itself, so we can make more. I don’t know why any of this is happening.”
“Magic doesn’t need an explanation.”
Jessie threw herself into making up more trays. They were opening the bakery a couple of hours, so they had time to get a few batches done and cooled before people started arriving. Dana finished them off with icing, some in gold and some in silver. Each of them were topped with an edible star decoration.
Dana and Jessie stood back to look at the first batch. “They’re gorgeous.” Jessie said.
“Ah, but the proof is in the eating.”
She handed a cupcake to Jessie and took one for herself. She was filled with an immediate sense of joy and her spirit was filled with light. Jessie seemed to be having the same reaction. “Oh my goodness, these are amazing. What are you going to all them?”
Dana had thought of a great name on the way over to the shop. “I’m going to call them Wish Cakes.” She looked at the clock. “Time to open the doors. Let’s see what others make of them.”
Customers started rolling in. They always came back every day to see what was on special. Today, the Wish Cakes stood front and centre. One woman approached the counter and looked at the pastries on offer, but her eyes were drawn towards the Wish Cakes.
“Those look lovely.”
“They’re a new creation.” Dana said. “Want to try one?” She thought of when she had made her own wish and was struck with an idea. “You have to make a wish before you bite into it. You don’t have to say it out loud if you don’t want to.”
“Don’t mind if I do.” She chose a silver topped cupcake and closed her eyes, saying her wish internally, then bit into the cupcake. The woman seemed to glow for a moment, as if she were sparkling. Opening her eyes, she regarded Dana with a wide eyed smile.
“Well, my dear! However did you do it?”
“What did you wish for?”
“I wished my joints would hurt less, terrible arthritis you know. Some days I can barely get up. Now, here I am pain free for the first time in years! Oh, these cupcakes are truly magical! How did you do it?”
“It’s magic.” Dana replied.
The woman laughed. “Well whatever they are, I want a dozen.”
As word of her Wish Cakes spread, her fame as a baker grew. Dana knew that she owed her thanks to the thousands of others that continued to believe in magic and would wish upon stars. To thank them, Dana would stand with Billy on their balcony and watch the stars.
She knew when someone made a wish on a star as it seemed to glow brighter than all the rest in the sky. When she talked to Jessie about it while they were making more cupcakes and other creations, wondering why the Wish Cakes worked the way they did, Jessie’s always had the same answer.
“Magic doesn’t need an explanation. Magic just is.”