Magical Lights


Those mysterious lights allowed her to see the world as he did – and brought them closer together again…

They were there again. The two, softly glowing, cherry coloured spots of light which seemed to dance and play. There was joy in them, something magical. There had to be. They definitely weren’t Chinese lanterns, fireworks or anything else Steve had suggested as the cause of her previous mysterious sightings.

Jennifer had first seen the lights on the evening of her row with Steve. On the face of it the lights were the cause of the argument, but she knew better.

“You OK?” he’d asked.

She hadn’t been when she went to stare out the window into the dark. To start with she’d felt as desolate as the patch of waste ground behind her apartment block. Seeing the lights had distracted her from her worries.

She described them to Steve.

“Twin UFOs?” he’d teased.

“I don’t think they’re flying, and they’re quite small and, as far as I can tell, they’re near the ground. Do you think they could be pixies or sprites?”

“More likely to be kids mucking about with torches,” he said.

Her fears ignited into anger. “Why do you always have to suck the joy out of everything? Whatever happens you immediately look for the least appealing alternative.”

“Jennifer, that’s not true! What I want is to rule out those things.”

Now she could see that’s what he’d been doing when she’d found the lump. Jennifer had wanted Steve to say it was nothing, just her imagination, a harmless cyst. He’d said it was probably nothing serious, but immediately undone the reassurance by suggesting she go to the doctor and get it checked out as quickly as possible. That had terrified her.

She had gone though, and while waiting anxiously for the results had stared out into the dark and seen the pretty red lights, hoped they were magical.

He’d only done what he always did – teased her about her quest for a mysterious encounter and expressed his scepticism. Whatever she saw, he suggested plausible explanations.

The night a year or so ago when she’d seen, but not identified, the Chinese lanterns drifting by he’d said, “Maybe it’s the Red Arrows travelling back to base?”

“Too slow and too quiet,” she’d said.

“Tail lights, reflected in puddles?”

“It hasn’t rained for days and they’re not going in a straight line.”

The more of his ideas she was able to shoot down the more convinced she became she was witnessing something extraordinary.

Well, maybe never really convinced, but it gave her hope such a thing was possible. Of one thing she was certain – if Steve ever agreed with her about the aliens, ghosts, spirits or fairies she’d know that really was what she’d seen and have no nagging doubt it was just an optical illusion.

Steve then had done nothing more than be himself. Maybe he thought she’d be comforted by such normality, but Jennifer hadn’t reacted as usual because she was scared.

And now she realised he had been too. That understanding came too late. She’d refused his company at the hospital or anywhere else.

The moment it was confirmed her lump really was nothing to worry about she saw he’d been right to push her into getting it checked straight away. Her relief was enormous. Without Steve’s comment she’d have worried herself stupid for months before doing anything.

He would still be worried. She should at least tell him she was OK – and perhaps admit that he’d been right. When she called his relief showed how much he cared.

“You weren’t right about the lights though,” she told him. “They come back every night. Usually a pair, but sometimes more join them. Then they create intricate patterns.”

“Hmm, I can’t think what they can be. I might get a better idea if I saw them.”

“They’re there now. Come over and you’ll see for yourself they’re something special, something magical.”

As she waited for him, Jennifer watched the lights and thought of all the things Steve might claim them to be.

It was as if seeing he’d been as scared as her over the lump allowed her to see the world as he did.

When Steve arrived she told him, “I think I’ve worked it out. They’re lights on dog’s collars, so the owners can see them in the dark.”

He glanced out the window. “No Jennifer, you’re wrong. There is something special about them.” Steve held out his arms, inviting her in for a hug. “I could be wrong. They could just be dog collar markers. Or you could have been right when you said they were special. Tiny magical creatures with the power to bring us back together. What do you think?”

Jennifer snuggled into his arms and said, “They’re magical… most definitely magical.”

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