It was beginning to happen every day. He would see someone who, from a distance, looked like her. He would hear her name everywhere he went. And while her name wasn’t exactly rare, the frequency with which he heard it surely defied statistics. He would see the same model, and color scheme of the car she drove.
Today, as he drove his ash covered vehicle through the smoke-filled streets of his town, he saw two different women in two different places with the same style hat she wore the last time he saw her. That hat was very popular with women a few years ago, but it had definitely been a few years. She wore it because it fit her personality, she was definitely not trendy.
The smoke from the fires over the hill was really getting to him. He struggled between wanting to get out of the house and needing to stay inside to take care of his lungs. It looked like the aftermath of nuclear war outside, with ash raining down on everything, hardly anyone out, and the sun a bright red-orange that cast an eerie light over all below. Because of the headache, sore throat, and general fatigue this gave him, he decided to go lie down. He quickly fell asleep. While he napped, sure enough, he dreamed of her.
His dreams ranged from innocent to explicitly passionate, and he awoke angry and frustrated that he could not stop thinking about her; even when he slept. He knew he liked her, knew he was attracted to her, and knew they connected on levels that actually mattered to him; but he hadn’t been so ruled by his own thoughts before. Well, he hadn’t since his very first crush anyway.
And it was as if a light bulb had gone off. He hadn’t been so ruled by his thoughts since his first crush. He completely understood now. His first crush came completely unexpectedly. It was so simple, his connection with this woman was nothing more than a simple crush. He could deal with a crush. He just wouldn’t take it too seriously. He did not want to be crushed, as so often happens with crushes. The unexpected nature of this just made it an intense crush, where he misunderstood its meaning based on how suddenly things took hold. Since he was blindsided by the connection, it just made it feel bigger. He got it, and decided to ignore whatever he took as signs from here on out.
“Dammit!” she shouted at her best friend.
“Didn’t I warn you not to play with infatuation?” her friend asked her.
“I know, I know, but it isn’t like he didn’t like me,” she responded, looking down at the book of incantations. “There has to be something I can do.”
She began furiously turning pages in the book, looking for some way to fix her mistake. Her years of training were not about to be wasted on one simple error. She might have to consult some of her more dangerous materials, because she was coming up empty.
In an attempt to get over his crush, he called up his friend and decided to go out to a local bar and meet some new people. Along the drive, he saw so many things that reminded him of her, but he did his best to dismiss them as coincidence. He was starting to be able to let them pass out of his mind. He was winning.
They got to the bar and met up with a few other friends. As the night went on, he met more and more people. He wasn’t looking to pick anyone up, just to meet new people and be less focused on her. And then he was approached by two women. Both of them were very flirtatious with him. They joined his group of friends at the corner booth in the lounge and struck up a conversation. They were both attractive, and the brunette seemed to be very interesting. They talked and flirted for about an hour. And as he was getting their phone numbers, something very strange happened. He suddenly found them both to be completely repulsive. He deleted the numbers from his phone before he even got home that night.
She stared down at her cauldron. She felt a tinge of guilt for what she was doing. Her best friend though, was very pleased.
“Why are you so happy? You told me not to mess with this stuff. You told me not to put myself into his thoughts. You said it was unethical to mess with somebody’s head.”
Her friend grinned widely and replied, “Oh my dear, you don’t see. And this is why you still have a little more to learn before you will be a true master of the craft.”
And then it dawned on her. This latest spell…this shortcut to getting what should be, was just that; a shortcut. It would not have worked unless it was meant to be. For this time, she wasn’t inserting herself into his head; she was merely showing him what was already in his heart.