Wish of a Lifetime by Lili Luo

Everyone has wishes. They can be big or small, selfish or selfless, known by all or known by one. Some wish on the stars and planets while others wish on candles while still others wish on angel numbers. 

Mykala is no different. A girl whose dreams range from inconsequential things to the unreachable. At five, she wanted to be a princess of a far-off kingdom. At ten, she wanted to be a teacher; just like those who have taught her and nurtured her. At fifteen, she wanted to be a spy with dangerous missions and large payoffs. Now, barely an adult at eighteen, she had no direction in her life. Insomnia ruled her life nowadays and nightmares were all she knew during sleep. 

Heart pounding and adrenaline running through her veins, she wakes up in a dark room where shadows seem to stretch and fill every crevice until all light is snuffed out. There’s something hiding in the corner, hiding underneath her desk, and behind the bookcase. Her ragged breaths and racing heart drown in the calming music, filling her with more dread. She turns on the bedside light that pushes all the shadows back and lets her breathe. 

She quietly walks to the kitchen, hoping to not wake Jenica up. That plan goes out the window when she finds her sleeping at the kitchen table, laying on top of her laptop and various scattered papers. Mykala walks past her and starts to make tea. The water boiling and soft noises from the city that never sleeps help calm her senses. She is safe. She is fine. 

Suddenly, an alarm goes off and Jenica startles awake. She quickly shuts it off and sighs when the apartment is quiet again. She turns when the soft sounds of boiling water replace the alarm and notices Mykala. 

“Why are you out here?” Jenica lifts an eyebrow and gestures to the now hot water. “Aren’t you usually holed up in your room doing whatever?”

“Yeah. I actually fell asleep for once but woke up due to nightmares. Y’know how it is.” Mykala turns her attention to her drink and grabs a second mug. She hands it to Jenica who thanks her and goes back to her notes.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Jenica asks after several minutes of typing. 

“I don’t know, Jen. All I can really remember is laughter ringing in my head and being surrounded by white walls.”

Jenica nods and starts typing again. Mykala sits down across from her. She breathes and listens to the noises around her—the soft beeping of cars, quiet planes flying and taking off, the quick tapping of keys. Suddenly, music fills the room. 

“Thought you might want some noise. Also, happy birthday.” Jenica answers Mykala’s unasked question. She smiles at her and nods. Jenica leaves the room and comes back with a small cake and a gift bag. 

With the candle lit, Jenica puts it in front of Mykala and tells her to make a wish. She closes her eyes for a bit before opening them and blowing out all the candles. She then gets handed the gift bag. She finds a necklace with a silver star and a small handmade note inside. 

“Thank you, Jen. I love it.” Mykala puts the necklace on and grabs a knife to cut a slice for them both. 

“So…” Jenica moves closer to her and grins. “What’d you wish for?”

“Not telling. If I do, it won’t come true.” Mykala laughs and pushes her. She slides her cake slice over and they start eating. “It tastes good.”

Jenica smiles and says, “It better. I spent good money on it at that fancy downtown bakery you like.”

“Wow. Thanks.”

“Want to watch a movie? My brain is fried and you look like you’re not going to get any more sleep tonight.” Jenica asks after they finish their slices. 

“Yeah, sure.” They move to the couch and Mykala cuddles into Jenica’s side. They bicker about whether to watch a documentary or a Disney movie. Mykala finally declares they should watch Mulan since it’s her birthday. Jenica just rolls her eyes and concedes. The movie begins to play and they fall into a comfortable silence. 

Halfway through the movie, Jenica feels Mykala start to shift. She lifts her arm to get out of the way before Mykala tugs on her floating arm signaling that she is done moving. 

“Jen.” Mykala’s voice could barely be heard over the action happening on screen, but Jenica still catches it. “My wish was to get better; to get over this depression.”

“You’ll make it. I believe in you and I’ll be by your side through everything. You know that.” Jenica says as she pecks Mykala’s forehead. 

“Thank you.”