The Gifts of the Magi

The three magi and I go back a ways. They form the center of one of my earliest coherent childhood memories. I couldn’t have been much older than five and was afraid that I would die. I was shivering and sweating beneath a simple red, white, and blue quilt my grandmother had made commemorating the bicentennial and my birth. It was dark and the world had contracted to the mattress and the wall the bed was pushed up against. Then that world drifted away from me and I found myself curled up on desert sand, three men standing around a fire in the distance. I couldn’t see them clearly, but I had a clear sense that they could see me. I knew they were the three magi, though I couldn’t say why. One of them directed his attention (though not his face) to me and told me clearly not to worry, that I would see them more clearly before I died, but that was not soon. I was comforted, and drifted in and out of that desert until my fever broke.

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