Mandy Loveless sat in front of her bedroom vanity, staring at the mirror's reflection. Her opinion of the sight registered in her downturned mouth and slumped shoulders. When did I begin to look like a frump? Her lifeless mousy hair stuck out in tufts from the static in the dry cold room. Her magenta blouse did nothing to enhance her complexion and her face without make-up felt as barren as her love life.
It wasn't always like this. It wasn't that long ago she had felt excitement and adventure, ready to set off to a party or a date, And now. She sighed. Oh how I wish ...
"What do you wish, my dear?" Mandy jumped and swirled around so fast she nearly flew off the vanity bench. "Who are you?' she croaked to the plump, matronly figure who sat on the edge of her bed. "Where did you come from?"
"Immaterial, my dear. The important thing is that you began a wish. Now you need to finish it for me." She made a sweeping gesture with her right hand and pulled out from behind her back—a wand. A wand like magicians use. Or fairy godmothers.
And now to top it off, I'm going mad.
"Finish the wish for me, please. You need to speak it out loud."
If I am going mad, I might as well play along.
"I wish I had some romance in my life, a man to fall in love with me." No sooner had she spoken than the mirage disappeared with a swoosh.
Mandy shook her head to clear it and wondered if she should check the psychiatric listings in the yellow pages. She heard a scratching at her front door and slid off downstairs to open the door for Misty, her tortoiseshell. Misty scooted past her with something in her mouth.
"Not again," said Mandy. Her cat had a habit of swiping things from the neighbours.
"What is it this time?" She stooped to pull a small notebook from the cat who looked up at her crossly at the loss of her treasure. "Now who does this belong to?" She found a name and address on the front page. Just down the street and around the corner. She glared at her cat. "When are you going to stop stealing the neighbours' things?" She sighed and pulled on her boots and old ratty parka to walk through the rain to the corner house.
She didn't recognize the name in the book. Probably a senior, Not too many people rely on notebooks these days.
She was surprised when the door opened to reveal a—well there was no other way to describe him—a hunk. She passed the book to him with a smile and he flashed a quick grin to her along with his thanks. She tried to explain about her cat but the words garbled in her mouth before she could spit them out. The neighbour's eyes began to glaze over and she made her exit. Now that's the sort of man my fairy godmother, if there was such a thing, should be finding for me.
As she left the path and joined the sidewalk, her boot caught on an uneven edge and she stumbled. A strong arm came out of nowhere to steady her and she turned to thank it's owner. Where are all these gorgeous men coming from?
"No problem," he said, giving her a cursory glance and a quick check to be sure she was all right before going on his way.
As she neared her house she was startled to see a fire vehicle parked just past her entrance, with a truck leaving. No sirens, that's a good thing.
As she approached, a fireman, looking delicious enough to be one of those who posed for the calendars, smiled at her and said. "No problem, ma'am. Just a false alarm next door."
"Ma'am?" she said to his retreating back. When did I graduate from Miss to Ma'am?
Back home, she shed her boots and shabby parka and returned to her bedroom, sitting again in thoughtful misery at her vanity.
A sudden whoosh and, "There you go again, dear, beginning a wish and not following through. What is it this time?"
Now the apparition stood as though ready to flit away at a moment's notice.
"You again! Fat load of good you do me. Nothing's changed since your last visit."
"What on earth do you expect?" The fairy godmother sputtered indignantly. "Today I sent you a hunky neighbour, a good Samaritan, and a fireman." And what do you do? Show up looking like that? You have to do your part as well."
"That's easy for you to say. I've forgotten how to go about attracting a man. If only... I wish I could look as attractive as I did before..." She heard a swoosh again as she finished her moan and turned to an empty bedroom. I must talk to someone about these hallucinations. They can't be healthy.
Another sigh and a tear crept down her left cheek. She reached into her vanity drawer for a tissue and her hand came into contact with a strange box.
She pulled it out and stared at it. Where did that come from? It was a hair colour box, the shade a lovely warm blonde she used to favour when she was in a happier time of life.
She shrugged, It's probably past it's sell-by date anyhow, and consigned it to the trash bin.
She could have sworn that, from the empty room behind her, there rose a strangled groan.
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