Every wish he had ever made had come true. He could be lying, but it served him no purpose. Eleven birthdays together, eleven beautiful cakes, eleven selfish wishes. Eleven reasons for me to believe that it wouldn’t be any different the twelfth time. But something was different. He hardly resembled the man I married. The distance between us had blurred him into a ball of fading colors. I was losing in the tug-of-war of hate. Was he aware of the game we were playing? I would soon find out.
The undeserving promotion, the boss’s broken leg, his stepfather’s death, the neighbor’s house burning down, only a few of the wishes he had cared to mention. With every passing birthday I forced myself to forget the oddness of each desire. Yet here I stood again, smiling and clapping, celebrating the life of a dangerous man. He was smiling. It never showed in his eyes.
Hands pushed me towards him, he encouraged me with an outstretched arm. It was time to blow out the candles. It was time to make a wish. My armpits were wet. Awkward patches darkened the pink fabric. What would it be this time?
A hundred bars of gold?
A cabin in the mountains?
An ability to read minds?
No, these wishes weren’t worthy. They wouldn’t satisfy the black hole inside him. It was me that he wanted, to be gone forever, every sign erased, not a single memory remaining. His fingers dug into my arm. His breath escaped his rounded lips. The candles flickered for a moment. If only time could stand still. I closed my eyes and waited for it to happen. Laughter filled the space around me. His hand released me from its grip.
Magic relighting candles were my savior. I wasn’t born an idiot.