It began as a brisk walk to clear her head. The chill air cut at her breath, and she sat down on a park bench to rest.
She wasn’t sure how she should respond. Then again, how did anyone know how to respond until it happened?
Readying herself to walk home she caught sight of something curious.
A black purse sat all by itself in the middle of a park bench.
No one else was in the park. Or walking the neighborhood for that matter, it was too cold.
“I wonder if there is any contact information inside,” she thought.
The black satchel was perfectly placed facing outward, as if it too rested. Its stitches and clasp spoke of refinement and it sat there so properly that it seemed almost a shame to move it.
“Do you mind if I sit down?” she asked, unsure why, but somehow felt it would have judged her manners had she not.
Shuffling through the interior pockets all she found was a simple black notebook with a note scribbled on the first page,
To the one who finds me:
I am the bag of a thousand wishes.
To use me, simply close the bag, make a wish, and open me again. You will find your heart’s desire inside.
As you probably supposed you have a thousand wishes to use before I go to someone else.
Take good care of me, and make sure that I do not fall into bad hands.
Your humble servant,
P.S. Make sure your wishes are well made. There is nothing worse than a poorly made wish.
“The bag of a thousand wishes,” she laughed. It was a beautiful bag, but the note was too fantastical.
It was probably a practical joke, though there wasn’t a camera she could see.
“Whatever you are, I am taking you home with me. It’s obvious someone is fine with me taking you home.” She paused.
“Perhaps I should try… not that anything will actually happen.” She shut the bag and closed her eyes.
“I wish for… a pearl necklace,” she said, opened the bag and reached inside.
Something smooth and round met her fingertips, and she pulled out a string of pearls. They were exactly the size she liked.
“That’s impossible,” she thought, and checked to see if anyone was watching.
She snapped the bag shut. “Maybe it was some fancy technology, or in a pocket I hadn’t noticed” she thought, even though she hadn’t noticed it inside the first time she checked.
Circumstances begged for a second wish, and this time she would think of something impossible.
There was once a time when she was at the Great Lakes and found a smooth white stone, as white as a pearl. She had put it with her towel at the beach, but right before they were about to leave her brother chucked it into the water. There was no way to find it again, and she cried the whole drive home.
For years she wished she had that rock back. It seemed like it was a magic rock, and something special would come out of it.
She hadn’t even made a formal wish when the bag sagged in her lap. A chill clustered between her shoulder blades, and her fingers trembled on the lock.
A smooth, cold surface met her fingertips.
It was round and heavy, and she felt a familiar mark along its side—the one place where it wasn’t perfectly white.
“Impossible,” she whispered, “I didn’t even speak…” She drew out the white, perfectly smooth stone.
Then the bag’s story was real. But who had it before her? Why hadn’t she heard about it before? And why was it left on a lonely park bench?
Someone with ill intentions might have gotten it. What would have happened then?
At that thought she shoved the notebook, the stone, and the necklace back into the bag and closed it.
The cold was gnawing at her cheeks and fingers.
“A thousand wishes,” she clutched the purse in her hand. She wondered if the purse could hear her thoughts even now.
She would have to hurry home and keep it in a safe place.