2017-12-21

Magic Amulet


You went out looking for love.

You tried all the usual things. You met people through mutual friends and colleagues, at parties. You joined up with a bunch of clubs associated with your common interests. You went out to night clubs to meet new people. You tried internet dating, dating through you faith-based community, singles nights at various establishments, and so on. Nothing seemed to work.

It's not that you were an unattractive person. You often met people with whom you had a spark. You'd go out on a few dates, things would heat up a little, then ultimately fizzle out.

To your great frustration, some of the most attractive people you met were already attached to someone else. Every time you thought you'd met a really great potential match, they'd introduce you to their spouse or partner a few minutes later. It was very frustrating.

One day, you met a beggar on the street. Everyone was passing by the beggar without so much as a sideward glance, but when you looked at the old man, you noticed that he was limping badly and his leg was wrapped in a very dirty, old bandage. You greeted him, pressed a few bills into the palm of his hand, and asked him if he was alright.

He winked. Then he told you, "Indeed, I am, my boy. In fact, I am a sorcerer, and in exchange for showing me kindness, I will give you this powerful amulet. With it, you will be able to seduce anyone!" Then he disappeared into a cloud of smoke.

You turned the amulet over in your hands a few times and breathed a deep sigh. You knew that this was a very powerful gift, indeed, but that it was not really what you needed or wanted in your life. After all, you were not merely looking to seduce people. You were looking for love. You were looking for someone whose attraction to you and to your personality was enough to sustain a life-long partnership until the two of you grew old together and died.

Granted, with the power conferred by this amulet, you could choose any person in the whole world, invoke the power of the amulet, and keep them in love with you for the rest of both your lives. But that relationship would not be based on anything other than the power of the amulet. Without mutual interests and a shared admiration for each other, there would be nothing fulfilling about the relationship itself.

The love itself would be superficial. It would be something like teenagers feel for each other: They like how the other person looks, they can engage in a sort of nervous and likeable rapport with each other, they can share some high school social experiences. When push comes to shove, though, teenagers ultimately discover that the object of their affection doesn't ultimately have a lot in common with them. They grow bored, uninterested, and ultimately go their separate ways.

You thought about this for several weeks. You even tried it out a few times, sharing some exciting and passionate nights with a few beautiful strangers. The amulet did work. But, again, you were in search of love, not merely sex. If only you had met the sorcerer in your younger, less serious days!

Then, one day, you met your perfect match. She was beautiful, intelligent, witty, charming, and glamorous. She shared all your same interests. You happened to meet her through a mutual acquaintance. You both took to each other so quickly that you forgot all about the amulet and simply asked her out on a date.

The date went very well. You laughed together, you enjoyed each other's company. It was thrilling!

Halfway through the evening, she briefly excused herself for a moment. You took a sip of your wine and shifted in your chair. You felt something in your pocket that you had completely forgotten about: the amulet.

This young woman is wonderful, you thought to yourself, and she seems genuinely interested in me. I shouldn't have to use the amulet.

Just then she came back to the table. She apologized, but explained that something had just come up and that she had to attend to it. She said, "I know this sounds bad, but I really do have to go. I'm sorry. I'll call you."

With that, she stood up, left you money for her half of the restaurant bill, and hurried out.

You thought about it. You were both having a great time. Her apologies sounded genuine. She didn't seem to want to go. Still, she ditched you halfway through a good date. What were you to think about that?

Your thoughts returned to the amulet. That would be an easy solution, wouldn't it? You wouldn't have to spend time wondering whether she liked you. You'd know it for certain. You had such a spark with her that surely -- surely -- the power of the amulet would merely focus her attention on you until you both had a chance to build the foundation of a proper relationship, without magic.

You swallowed hard. You took a deep breath. You used the amulet.

Your relationship with the woman continued for several months. It was wonderful. It was the nicest relationship you had ever had with anyone. You spent many lazy afternoons wrapped in each other's arms, laughing and chatting. You played games together, cooked together, introduced each other to your friends and families. You talked about a future together. Indeed, you planned on it.

One day, while opening your drawer to get your watch, you noticed the amulet. It was still glowing. Its power was still working to maintain your relationship.

You remembered all the time you had spent with the woman who was likely to spend the rest of her life with you. You realized that you really had built the foundation for a wonderful, lifelong relationship. You thought, perhaps it was time to deactivate the amulet and live out the rest of your life with your paramour.

As you reached for it, though, you realized that there was a chance that everything you had experienced thus far was nothing more than the power of the amulet. Left to her own volition, perhaps she never would have invested so much time in you. Perhaps she would have grown weary of your ways, or annoyed by your quirks. Perhaps she didn't really find you all that physically attractive to begin with.

Perhaps she really was blowing you off that one night, months ago, on your first date.

You could easily find out the truth by deactivating the amulet and finding out what happens. The problem now is that you don't want to know the truth. You want to live the life that you had begun to live with this woman, the love of your life. You can't bear losing her. You can't live without her.

You turn the amulet over again and again in your hand, wondering what to do. This is what you always wanted, and yet it might all be disingenuous.

So you think, and you wonder, and you don't know what to do.