Could It be Magic?

by David Ellis

I visited my parents in The Lakes the other weekend.

Late on Friday night as I was preparing to go to bed, I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. It was raining hard ( no surprises there ) and the tempest was battering against the window in front of me. Feeling cold, standing there in my underwear, I snatched the curtains closed to block out the winter weather that was dominating the summer.

After a few vigorous brushes, I decided to spit and promised myself that I’d do a better job in the morning - I was cold. ( Apparently you feel it more in your Fifties!)

As I stooped to splatter the contents of my mouth on the porcelain, a brand new penny chinked into the basin. out of nowhere.

I looked over my shoulder and around the room. Where had it come from?

I picked up the penny 2012, perfect and shiny. As I studied it, another chink and a second, identical penny rolled around the hand basin. And then a third..

I looked above me , behind the curtains, around the sink - even went out of the bathroom to check that my parents were still downstairs - they were. On my return, there were 5 bright shiny pennies in the bowl. I collected them and emptied my mouth as another penny plopped into my frothy spit.

I don’t believe in magic and yet, here was a magical act happening to me, right now.

The rain continued to thump against the window and reminded me that I was cold, so once again I snatched at the curtains to ensure that there was no gap in the flimsy protection from the elements that they afforded.

And then, as I fingered the hem of the curtain, I felt it.

Another coin - one of twenty or so that my mother had painstakingly threaded into the hems of the curtains so that they would hang straight.

So no magic then.

As I snuggled up in bed and reflected on what had just happened, I remembered how wonderful I had felt when I thought something truly magical was happening. I was fascinated. I’d forgotten that I was cold. I was on the verge of believing that the impossible was actually possible.

Deflated, I was disappointed that there was no magic and concluded in a scientific way that there always had to be a logical explanation for everything.

And yet I was not satisfied with this deduction. I wanted the magic, the surprise, the suspense; I was prepared to believe in that that was impossible.

So is science not enough? Do we need to believe in something to feel alive, awake, aware?

And if we do - is it enough to believe in magic?