Throughout my childhood, I must have spent $100 in pennies, throwing wishes into fountains. Of course, that change never came from my pocketbook. I’d ask my mom, grandma or an aunt, “Can I make a wish?” How does one say no to that?
First, I’d look at the date to see how old the penny was, and then hold it tight in my tiny hands. I’d squeeze my eyes shut tight as I rubbed my wish into the copper. Before tossing it in overhand, I’d open my eyes to ensure it was safely delivered.
Never once did I feel a magical response, as though my wish would be granted. And never once was my wish granted – I know this because that wish was always the same.
At some point, I’m not sure quite when, I stopped wishing on fountains. With this, the hope for my wish slowly faded away.
On this past Christmas Eve, though, I saw a shooting star. It was a brief, magical sight in the clear, dark sky – when I was a child, I would have believed it was Santa’s sleigh. While it had probably been 15+ years since I’d tossed a penny in a fountain, I found that my wish had changed. Yet still, seeing that meteor’s tail glowing behind it as the rock entered Earth’s atmosphere made me wish again.