Be careful what you wish for... you just may get it.

There's something you want... it's a longing in your soul and a thorn in your heart. All you can think about day in and day out is how much you want it. You tear yourself up inside to figure out a way to have it; you neglect the things that are important; you push your friends away; you hurt people, you leave them in tears. Nothing matters as long as you can achieve your goal. Once you get it, you know that nothing else will matter, because you will be happy. ... And then... someone gives it to you. Finally! You have it. It's all yours. You sit and admire it for a while. You run to your best friend, holding your shiny new toy raised high and say "look what I have!" She smiles and says "how nice," pats you on the head and then leaves to go visit her boyfriend. You look around for someone else to show. You run to your mom. "Oh my... that's what's popular among the kids these days." shakes her head and clucks her tongue. hmmm. *shrug* You call up another friend, she hangs up on you. "That's the stupid thing you missed my birthday party for." Not to be struck down, you resign to go back to your room and play with your new toy. You will be happy with it. You sit and spin it for a while, examine every edge, admire it's beauty. You sit it on your bed- it's your new best friend. You smile at it. It sits there, inaminate. You squeeze it tight against your chest. It's cold, and hard. You frown. This doesn't do too much. And you realize... that it's not that great after all.

Be careful what you wish just may get it.

Walking up the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, looking for a sweater for Mom to take back to California. She's got the baby in the sling, facing inward, fast asleep against her chest. He's making a little whuffling snoring sound.

"Are you happy?" She asks it pensively. Living so far apart, visiting each other so infrequently, we have to say these things rather than just seeing them.

Pause for thought:
Miscarrying the first pregnancy the very day my nephew was born
Months passing, divided into the impatient wait for ovulation and the hopeful time before a period signalled failure
The anxious wait for my period in Madrid, then the pregnancy test in Maastricht; 2 blue lines at last
Bleeding within a month, just like last time; even a successful scan couldn't soothe my terror.
A weekend of breathless dread between bleeding again on a Friday night and rushing to the hospital for a Monday morning scan
Morning sickness - getting off the bus on Princes Street to throw up every day one week
The prospect of a Caesarian section - they were going to cut into me!
Sleepless nights. Colic. Screaming without peace.
Future worries - the terrible twos, adolescence, defiance and hostility, fevers, chicken pox and car crashes. Letting go.

I realize she's still waiting for my reply. I cup my hand over my son's tiny, fuzzy skull, and he grins goofily in his sleep. How to put it into words?

"I got what I always wanted, and it was better than I ever thought it would be."

Baby, you rock my world.

It will take a long time for the dust to settle. In retrospect that should not surprise me as much as it does -- the complete unpredictability was the driving force behind making this so interesting in the first place. Not just interesting, but also frightening.

Most of the people affected will never really understand the power they had for some time. I can't really bring myself to blame them as the power of having anything you wish next is well beyond human comprehension, and casually thinking "I wish it were already Friday" is too easy. It's not a real wish after all -- it's just something for the mind to look forward to, keep itself busy and hang a carrot on a stick in front of one's sub-conciousness.

It was the perfect experiment. Of course it was also the most extreme version of Russian roulette anyone has ever played, but all great explorers accomplished what they did by risking their continued existence for something they weren't even sure was there to begin with. Not to mention actually finding it. Little Timmy hit jackpot without even going for it when his dad happened to think "I wish my son had become a respected doctor", while little Jack from the broken family across the street happened to think "I wish my parents were dead". Of course many people wished to win big in the lottery. Actually so many that their joy was diluted by the fact that the total prize of 10 million ended up being shared by hundreds of others. My self confidence of being invisible or popular enough not to end up in the receiving end of one of those "I wish they were dead" wishes was way across the border that separates confidence from hubris.

That's why I did what I did. A curious man can't change his curious nature like clothes. But maybe the real reason was to make all human kind -- myself included -- learn an important lesson. Careful what you wish.

That's why I chose to give all those people the power. It took me a lifetime of hardships beyond what I believed a man could survive, but it was worth it. Worth every trip around the world, worth every scar and illness, worth every single betrayal along the way. Now I know what happens. One question weaved by my curious nature has been answered, and now I'm at peace for the time being. "I wish every single person in the city would get one wish" sounds really lame when you think about it -- and it's also somewhat against the rules you have to work with. It's essentially the same as wishing for more wishes, but it seemed interesting enough for the rules not applying. That's why the genie allowed it. Curiosity brings out both the best and the worst in all of us, and even seemingly omnipotent creatures are vulnerable to it.

I still have two more wishes.

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