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A Magic Yet Vaguely Familiar

By Jennie LaFortune

We spent hours on the purple blow-up couch in the bottom apartment of Heritage Halls. Discussions about our latest dates, wannabe dates, classes, and life dreams bounced off the kitchen walls as idealistic roommates laughed our way through another college night.

Fifteen years later I lingered in Central Park and waited to meet up with one of the roommates (still a great friend), but when she got delayed I walked across the way to the Met Museum. Standing outside on the steps next to the fountains, I people-watched until the doors opened. As I sauntered up the grand staircase, I found myself actually alone in rooms. In the Met. In the summer. How? Just me, Van Gogh, Monet, and Bonnard.

I stood still.

The white walls, paintings, and wood floors felt comforting. Words I came across on a random blog post years prior ran through my mind. I had saved and read them so many times I knew them by heart.

“…and there was this feeling there—this overwhelming feeling of anticipated joy and unfettered possibility—that is still palpable in my consciousness. the feeling of good things—unknown and unmentionable yet vaguely familiar—to come. life, in all its glory, sprawled out in front of me in a moment.” – Shelley McConkie

Those moments align and remind my soul of – for lack of a better word – things.  I had no idea at the time that these two seemingly ordinary memories would contain such gravity.

A few days ago I talked on the phone to this same friend. I spoke of uncertainties, insecurities, and worries. Like a good friend does, she called me out on my lack of trust and short-sighted narration. After listening to my stories, she said, “Have you noticed that as we’ve aged we’ve lost some of our magic?” I let out a laugh, and said something like- that’s sad. But we recalled those nights on the purple couch and our belief in magic then. How the belief in the power of our desires and abilities spark peace, abundance, and joy.

And so, I have spent the better part of this week thinking about magic and/or a perfect brightness of hope. That is to say, when we break down some walls around our guarded hearts, and remember those times we felt “anticipated joy and unfettered possibility,” space opens for that once “vaguely familiar” hope and belief of good things to come, “sprawled out in front” of us, which lets some of the magic back in.

About Jennie LaFortune

(Prose Board) is from Salt Lake. Figuring life out one book, beach, road trip, museum, and front porch conversation at a time. Perpetually on the search for the best dark chocolate, finest pen, and greenest field. When she's not teaching high school, she loves to spend time with friends and family, the shore of any ocean, holding her friends' babies, or taking long neighborhood walks.

6 thoughts on “A Magic Yet Vaguely Familiar”

  1. Beautiful post; it's the positive side of what I've been thinking a lot about lately. The phrase I keep coming back to is "hope is a dangerous thing." My moments of shining hope are all too often accompanied by triple or quadruple the number of moments of disappointment, heartbreak, and frustration. That sounds so negative, like I'm in despair. I'm not, I'm a generally positive person. I keep returning to hope after all, but my heart can't help but gain some wariness (and some weariness). I think one of the virtues of youth is idealism, bright hope, and blazing dreams. As we grow older we trade some of that – or lose some of that – for the wisdom of experience.

  2. Jenni,

    What a perfect post for a January day! I love the McConkie quote…worth memorizing! And I like the idea of looking at my new year in search of "anticipated joy and unfettered possibility" and rediscovery of MAGIC!

    Thank you for a beautiful post!

  3. Ok Mel, this speaks directly to my heart! I totally get what you mean, and definitely feel like despair and disappointment is overpowering. When you wrote that "hope is dangerous" it reminded me of the Ben Folds line "Hope is a liar / A cheat and a tease". Not uplifting, but completely relatable! I think the key though is exactly what you said, the trade off is wisdom in experience and trying to regain some hope amidst – it all.


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