‘Do you believe in magic?' Mrs Parker asked Lauren matter-of-factly while observing mesmerized the butterflies flying around the colourful rose bushes not far from them.
The question came unexpected; totally detached from the pleasant conversation they'd been having that afternoon. It took Lauren by surprise.
‘Of course not!' Lauren replied in the way that teenagers do when they don't like what they are being asked, in a ‘don't ask me that!' tone.
‘That was a very quick response' Mrs Parker said sweetly not looking at Lauren, her gaze still following the butterflies that were playing under the afternoon sun.
‘There is not much to think about' Lauren said upset this time, ‘how can you ask me that question?'
‘I'm asking you that question because –‘Mrs Parker paused for a moment to think carefully what she was going to say so as not to upset Lauren even more. ‘Because it just came to my mind', she simply said, ‘people do not normally talk about magic when in reality magic surrounds us constantly'.
Mrs Parker continued talking still not looking at Lauren, as if she were talking to herself ‘look at the magic around us, just here in the park: the air we breathe, the lovely scents from the gardens, the warmth from the sun, the music from the birds. Is it not magical? Young hearts believe in magic, so I thought you would as well'.
As she said the last word she looked at Lauren, who was seated on the park bench by her side, her hands tucked in under her bottom, her head looking down at her feet which were hanging freely in the air moving in circular motion, her face covered by the fine brown curls that rested on her shoulders.
Lauren looked up at Mrs Parker, her eyes red as she fought the tears that wanted so desperately to come out and in a sad voice she said, ‘I cannot see the magic in any of that, all the magic of my world was taken away the day my parents died in that car accident'.
‘That's certainly very sad' Mrs Parked said trying not to show the pity she felt for the young girl, ‘but despite all the bad you still have your family, you are blessed with a loving aunt and uncle who –'.
‘Who were happy to adopt their niece since they cannot have a child of their own; which means that your magic worked for them but not for my parents or myself' Lauren blurted.
‘That's not what I meant – and you know it', Mrs Parker said softly. ‘You are loved more than you think and your parents are watching over you from wherever they are, I can assure you, and that's what really matters'.
She stretched her arm to grab Lauren's chin and moved her face gently so each others' eyes met and not until she felt she had the girl's full attention that she spoke: ‘that is the magic!', and with that Mrs Parker indicated the end of the conversation and Lauren agreed in silence as she didn't like to be reminded of the accident.
The girl stood up, rubbed her hands on her jeans as she always did when she was in an uncomfortable situation and then wiping the tears away from her cheeks gave Mrs Parker a forgiving smile.