the taste of magic

by Aqeela Naqvi

when i open a harry potter book,
i am eight years old again,
starlight streams through the window,
i can taste magic.


“there are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
-harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone-

in sharing, a friendship struck many years ago between three friends and a wide-eyed eight year old hiding in the stacks of a dusty library during lunchtime, coming across a book, the story of the boy with the lightning-shaped scar…

with the first turn of the page a nearly 20 year journey: lazy summer days spent with a bowl of ice cream escaping into a world sometimes more real than my own; hidden moments in autumn-crisped schoolyards and classrooms, heart racing to turn the next page; hiding under the covers late in snowy nights, the world silent and asleep, but surrounded by the conversation of friends.

this magical world i escaped into as a child, the companion of my youth, the nostalgia of my adulthood, has taught me this: read. be a lover of reading. allow your children to become lovers of reading. the stories of childhood are the ones we carry with us – flames at which to warm our hands in our colder hours.

let your kids feel constellations move in their souls. show them that magic exists, before the grayness of the world has a chance to convince them it doesn’t.

the potter generation – an entire generation, growing alongside the books. aging with the characters. and to this day, those, knowing that harry potter was one of our first glimpses into the meanings of love. friendship. loyalty. sacrifice. betrayal. disappointment. success.

as harry, ron, and hermione struggled to make sense of their world, so did we. as they grew up and realized – that not every friend is a true friend, that the people we look up to sometimes make mistakes, that there are great darknesses in the world – so did we.

but at the same time, we also realized that true friendship, though rare, does exist, and it is worth fighting for; that people may make mistakes, but it is not their fall that defines them, but their decision to stand back up; and that though there is darkness in the world, there is within us the power to defeat it:

the light of an even greater, undefeatable magic.