I've always believed that magic is all around us. I'm not talking about the big stuff, trees being caught by blue flames, or mind reading or the presence of spirits-- no. I mean, I believed in that sort of thing when I was small, who didn't? But not so much anymore. I'm talking about the sun rising in the morning, a baby's first steps, and the greatest miracle of all-life. Nonetheless, I never truly understood the full impact a miracle could bring until I received one of my own.
It wasn't quick and fast and overwhelmingly amazing. It happened slowly, until one day I woke up and came to truly understand that I had been blessed with a miracle.
Since I could first walk I have loved to dance. My mother enrolled me in dance classes when I was all of three years old. It felt like I was always performing somewhere. The school recital, and then when I quickly moved up to the older girl classes, the performances around the city. It seemed everyone wanted to see the little girl who moved like an angel.
I'm going to be honest. I've always been very pretty. My hair is a honey brown and my eyes are a beautiful shade of blue. I love how I look. I'm not vain, though, and hardly wear any makeup. I think it was my gentleness that might have attracted people to me. I'm not sure. I've never quite understood my appeal. In the end I don't think it really matters. I just loved to dance, and performing gave me excuses to dance more. I delved into so many styles of dance, then. Jazz, hip hop, African, Irish, Tehetian, ballet, contemporary, I tried them all. I loved them all. I excelled in them all.
I've always been a normal girl. I have friends, and I love them. I've had a few boyfriends, and they were sweet. I've had my ups and downs, and they were good and bad respectively. If it weren't for my dancing I would be just like anyone else.
One cold evening after a particularly good show I wandered Cambie Street to find some coffee. I found some and was sitting outside a Starbucks when I saw him. He wore tattered clothing that looked worn and old. His hands were at his sides and he was glancing around edgily. Under his hard mask of strength I could see fear. In fact, I could feel it seeping from his pores. I stood up from my table, my coffee forgotten.
"Are you alright?" I asked. I knew I shouldn't be talking to him. For all I knew he could be a rapist or a drug dealer or a psycho. He looked up apprehensively, and gave a tight nod. He continued on his walk down the sidewalk. "Excuse me?" I asked again, once again forgetting my breezy Vancouver indifference, "Why are you so afraid?" At this he stopped, turned around and looked me straight in the eye. His glare was angry and misunderstood. He didn't answer my question. He continued down the street with me looking after him, wishing only that he would turn around and speak to me. I didn't even know why he had caught my eye like that. I had seen hundreds of other people like him before, and yet, he was somehow special. I sighed and turned around to my quickly cooling coffee. I held it in my hands for a few moments to warm myself up, sipping occasionally, then gave up. My mind was too preoccupied by the boy in jeans. I went to bed that night in a sorry mood. I only wished he had talked back to me.
Life went on for weeks in its usual mundane pattern. I went to my morning dance class, went to school, did my homework on the way to my afternoon dance classes, had a quick break for supper and went back to dancing, when I finished the day off with my homework. And then I saw him again.
He was outside my neighbor's door, throwing stones at her window. I heard the rocks landing on the window and put down my pencil to see what the commotion was. There he was, throwing rocks at Stacy Miller's window. "Stacy! Open the window!" he whispered hoarsely.
"No! I'm not opening the window!" I heard from inside.
"Why not?" and then I saw hurt. I found myself opening the glass door onto my one person patio. A cool wind swept my white nightie and my hair.
"Because I won't, that's why! And if that's not a good enough reason for you then you should just turn around and go anyway!"
"Why are you here?" I whispered into the night. He turned, just about to throw another stone.
"What do you want?" I looked at him, confused.
"What do you want?" he repeated, angry at me. My lips parted slightly, for my mind was without an answer. I began to say one thing, then changed my mind just as the thought reached my tongue.
"Your name." I said quietly.
"What?" he asked, and I thought that he hadn't heard me, so I repeated myself.
"I want to know your name."
"Why?" he seemed bewildered. I shrugged. I would tell him no more than he had told me. Realizing he wasn't going to get an answer from me he replied. "Hansen." I smiled softly. The name didn't suit him at all, but perhaps it had once, and he simply hadn't changed his name to suit his new self.
"Hansen." I said, tasting the name on my lips, "That's a nice name." he gave me a precious worn smile.
"I'm glad." he said, and I could not help but return his unexpected smile. We were interrupted by Stacy, who had decided to open the window after all.
"Hansen?" she suddenly seemed unsure of herself. He looked up at her. She looked across the gap between her and my house at me. "Natasha?" The way she looked at me indicated she wanted to talk to Hansen alone, so I drew back, however reluctantly. My glass door clicked closed and I drew my lace-covered white curtains, taking one last peek at Hansen.