It’s a hot day in Disneyland, where dreams come true and Peter Pan hides from adulthood’s pains. We are waiting in line for a fairytale ride because when you grow up, you have to pay for your happy ending. I am battling an eating disorder, and this is not the fairytale I was promised. I stand quietly beside you and try to figure out how it’s possible to still be sad in the happiest place on earth.
You notice a wishing well and give me a coin. It feels heavy in my hand, but you urge me to make a wish. I want to wish for a fairy godmother or a genie. I want to wish a thousand times over to release me from this curse, but before I throw the coin, I see you out of the corner of my eye. And there you are—my sister. The five-year-old from my memory still shines through your smile. You beam. You radiate light brighter than the California sun that beats down on us. For a moment, the curse is lifted. So, we count down together and throw our coins in the air.
And I wish that you will always be happy. I wish that you find a prince who proves his love by climbing towers for you. I wish that you slay every dragon you ever face and never feel the prick of a poisoned rose. I wish that your story skips over my chapter so that every page is full of treasure and you never have to remember that the little mermaid turned to seafoam. I pray that you find your happily ever after.
The coin hits the water, and you ask me what I wished for.
I can’t tell you my wish because then it will not come true. And I need your story to be magical.
I may never find my prince, but I already know what true love is. It is giving away my only wish for my sister, because I could spend a million lifetimes walking in broken glass shoes, but I could not live a second in a world where you do not shine.