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Wizard in a Taxi

by Juliana Marín

I met a wizard the other day on my way home from school. If I’d lived in Fairytale Land, he might have been small and sitting on a broom or something. But we were in Medellín, Colombia, and he sat in a boring, old yellow taxi.

“Where shall I take you, miss?” he asked. I told him how to get to my house while I stared out the window.

“What music would you like to listen to?”

His question wasn’t usual. Taxi drivers often play sappy love songs at full blast, and will sometimes kick you out of their taxi if you ask them to turn off the music.

“Uh, classical, I guess,” I said, tearing myself from the window.

“Classical? Not many teens like classical music.”

“No, I guess not,” I answered.

“Does your boyfriend like classical music too?” the taxi driver asked.
“No,” I said absentmindedly, returning to staring out the window. I didn’t even have a boyfriend. Never had, in fact.

After a few minutes of Chopin, the taxi driver spoke again.

“It’s not going to work, you know,” he said.

“What’s not going to work?”

“Your relationship with him. Both of your intentions are good, but deep in your heart you know you don’t love him, and that you never really have.”

Huh? I looked at the taxi driver rather stupidly, I’m afraid, not having the faintest idea of what he was talking about.

“What do you mean?”

So much for staring out the window any longer. I had no courteous option but to keep the conversation going.

“I mean that love has brought you a great deal of trouble in your short life. Am I not right?”

Was he playing a joke? I still had no idea what he was talking about, but my curiosity was getting the better of me.

“Why are you saying this?” I asked. “You don’t even know me.”

He smiled slightly at me through the mirror. “But I do, my dear, more than you think. You see, I can see into people’s souls through the windows of their eyes. And in your eyes there is a deep sorrow that tells me you are carrying a pain that is too great for you.”

I could feel myself still wearing the stupid I-don’t-get-it expression. “You can see into people’s souls?” I asked, trying not to sound cynical or rude. “How?”

“Ahhh,” he said slowly, relishing the word, and smiling at me mysteriously through the mirror. “You see, my dear, I can communicate with the unseen. The powers tell me things. I am a wizard.”

My mouth dropped open. Was he playing a joke? No. Not at all. For the first time I noticed good-luck charms hanging from his mirror. I couldn’t believe it. This guy really believed he could read my life. And yet he’d already gotten it wrong from the start!

A thought began teasing at the back of my mind. This could be very, very fun, I mused to myself. I would choose my words carefully.

“What else do you see?” I asked, assuming an expression of awe. “Why do you think I’m so sad?”

He cleared his throat importantly. “You are sad because love has disappointed you cruelly. Unlike most girls your age, when you love, you love with all your heart, and it hurts you to realize that not all people are that way. You’ve had only two boyfriends in your life. The first relationship was short but very meaningful to you. You loved him deeply and still miss him at times. You’ve been going with the present one for much longer, perhaps two years or so. But you don’t really love him, and you don’t know what to do about it.”

I just stared.

“I’m right, aren’t I?” he asked, evidently pleased with my dumbstruck expression.

“I . . . er, I don’t know what to say,” I stammered. This was too cool for words.

He smiled in satisfaction. “It is not easy, what I do,” he said. “It has taken me many years of self-discipline and meditation to learn to read people’s auras. But my hard work has paid off, because, as you can see, I don’t guess—I only read what is there. Perhaps I have been sent by the powers to help you.”

I was having the time of my life, watching him unwittingly make a fool of himself. I was also quite proud of myself for not cracking up.

“Do you think I should break up with him then?”

“That is only for you to decide. But if you do not, you will be lying to him every minute you are together.”

“Why would I be lying to him?”

“Ah, that is evident, my darling. You are in love with someone else, but he is already married.”

I choked back a laugh with a very well-camouflaged cough. But the fun was over; we were nearing my house.

“I need to get out in about two blocks,” I said.

“But first, what will you do about your boyfriend and the man you truly love? If you wish, I can let you know what is to come.”

“Can you also see the future?” I asked, twitching a smile back into place.

“The destiny of every soul is etched into their very hands. Come, let me see your palm, and I will tell you what time has in store for you and your boyfriend.” “No thank you,” I said politely. The game had been fun, but I knew where to stop. Letting him read my palm would be going too far.

“But darling,” he protested, “why don’t you trust me? I read only what the powers have enabled me to see. You know this now.”

Boy, did I. I couldn’t help grinning.

“That a girl. Here, let me—”

“No thank you,” I said more firmly. “But it has been very . . . enlightening . . . to talk with you.” I climbed out of the taxi and handed him the money through the window. I looked straight into his eyes, forcing myself not to crack a smile.

“I hate to break it to you, but you may want to review your soul-reading skills. I’m not in love with anyone right now, and I’ve never even had a boyfriend.”

I turned to go, but only after registering in my memory the indescribable look of shock that appeared on his face. On impulse I turned around again and said quite seriously this time, “And I’m not carrying deep sorrow. In fact, I think I may be one of the happiest people I know.”

“Why?” he asked dryly, looking very irritated.

“Because I know God,” I simply said.

“Oh,” he muttered before speeding away. I detected an obvious note of disgust in his voice.

I watched him go, feeling kind of sorry for him. Poor man. He was the sad one, for he’d deceived himself to the point that his very life was a lie. He sincerely believed what he’d been telling me.

But I didn’t stay sorry very long. It was his choice. I may not have the power of reading the future or knowing people’s lives by looking at them, but I don’t need it. I have Someone else to do that for me—God.

With a spring in my step I headed up the driveway to my house, unable to suppress the laughter that finally bubbled up. I certainly knew, at least right then, I really was one of the happiest people there is.

Juliana Marín, 19, writes from Medellín, Colombia, South America. Juliana enjoys reading, writing, working with clay, and studying history.

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