The Key Charm

Laura cursed under her breath when the keys refused to get out of her pocket. It seemed to her that the 30 year old sparkling green lizard from Barcelona that served as key charm was in love with the fabric of her pocket. The little lizard was still adorning her key chain because it was one of those things that reminded her of her dead mother and not because it was useful. It was as old as she was, her mother had bought it during her honeymoon at Barcelona and had passed it on her elder daughter when she was old enough to have her own keys. Careful honey, she had been told, it is a special charm this one. It can grand you any wish you make. Keep it with care. Laura had believed her back then, but as she looked now the weather buttered lizard she wondered what was so special about them. Deep inside her, the little girl that Laura used to be, she wished that her mother was correct. She wished that the small sparkling key charm could get her in touch with her mother one more time, and get her away from her miserable life of the last months.

Finally, the keys left her pocket. Laura heard the fabric of jacket tear a bit and the young woman sighed resigned. Nothing in her life was going as it should be. Life was supposed to be easy, fun and full of adventures, the opposite of her situation the last six months. Christmas was almost here, and usually she would have been especially excited for her mother’s roast but this year she would eat a cold serve of turkey, alone at her place. Laura had a deadline to catch till the end of the year that occupied most of her time. Working every day, including weekends, left her exhausted at the end of the day. She did not complain though, as it kept her mind occupied.

Laura put the keys on the door of her apartment. She lived on the ground floor of an old, moldy building in the old city. On the other side of the old door a huge pile of dishes awaited her and the dust on the furniture was throwing a party with the hair on the floor, while the Christmas star overlooked the chaos from the window. By default Laura was not an untidy woman, but the last months all her energy was exhausted by work and grief.

As she turned the key the tired woman wished for another place to await her on the other side of the door, she wished one more time to be with the people she loved. She would have asked it from Santa Claus, but she was too old to believe in a man bringing gifts during night. She opened the door.

The sunshine pouring in the room from the widely open windows blinded her. She needed a couple of moments till her eyesight adjusted and then it took her a couple of minutes till the details of the room registered in her mind. The apartment she had just entered had nothing to do with her old and smelly place. It was clean and bright, a bit humid and filled with the smell of jasmine and freshly baked cookies. Perplexed, she looked behind her to see that the dark and moldy corridor was still there, cold and unfriendly. Then she turned around, fearing that the illusion of the sunny apartment was gone, but it was still there welcoming her in another world.

Carefully, she took a step inside fearful that the ideal place will disappear forever. It might be a dream. If she pinched herself she would wake up, right? Fortunately, the place did disappear, but her arm hurt. She started rubbing her arm, while she stepped inside. Gaining confidence she decided to explore the space. The decoration was exquisite and the flowers on top of the coffee table were fresh. Next to them she spotted Spanish literature, she recognized some of the titles from her mom’s library. Whoever lived in that place she had a good taste in books and cookies. Laura could smell in the air cinnamon cookies, her favorite.

She moved close to the window. The sun was high in the sky and no clouds were visibly, the complete opposite of the weather and time in Köln. But it made some sense, as she was no longer in Köln. The center piece of her view was the Sagrada Familia looming unfinished in the horizon over the rows of the buildings. Somehow her wish for another place came true.

“Who are you?” asked a strangely familiar voice. It sounded as if it belonged to another place and time, as it was pulled out of her memories. Laura uncertain turned around to face the owner of the place. Of course it belonged to someone, why was she so surprised now?

“Who are you?” demanded an answer the young woman, but Laura was speechless. She faced her mom. The lean, tall figure with the same dark brown eyes as Laura’s belonged to her mom. What really surprised her was that the mom she faced was the same as the smiley mom from her honeymoon pictures and not the same she had last seen in the hospital. Somehow, Laura was facing the younger version of her mom, and she realized that for Christmas she had gotten all her wishes. Maybe the little key charm was special.


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