Miss Mara gave me a key that she bought in Toledo, Spain where, according to her, high-quality forged swords, keys and other metal products are made.

I am vastly amused by the key she gave me and how it made me rekindle my childhood. I am holding onto her words that she just did not buy the key alone, but also a castle. I seriously believed that she bought that key with an open challenge: To find the perfect fit for the key.

So I stood to that challenge and promised to visit Spain and find the corresponding lock of the key.

To my surprise, the childhood that I was suddenly reminded was the dreams I once dreamed of, things that I promised to achieve or things I wanted to become on the day I became, with any luck or quite apart from having that luck, grown up.

Of course, I do not know what could have possibly happened when I was six or seven. All I know is that I dreamed of fairy tales, meeting Santa Claus, and flying—wishing them all to be true.

I always wanted to be a swordsman or a knight. With the entire masculine outfit or any historic sword-fighting wear, anyone I loved will be saved. I’ll fight dragons, burn witches, kiss princesses. I will be grand.

The key also reminded me how things have gone, things that did not happen because I cannot do what I said to be done, just because I am not aware that I should do it, and just because I never knew anything about it.

In short, it made me realize that there are things that will make you believe, while some will give you false hopes, or simply things that you just can’t do.

By the way, I should have said beforehand that this is not just about fairy tales, ‘living happily ever after’ and ‘once upon a time.’

***

To talk more about the key and how it relates my childish part, it touched a memory when I was in the middle of daydreaming somewhere in 1997 where I found out daydreaming is just a waste of time.

To tell you the truth, looking back at that distinct section of my childhood, I doubted if Cinderella and other fairy tales stories were true. It is, of course. Just lesser of being skeptical, I knew many Cinderella-ish people and they proved the true out of it with less castles, knights, kings and queens, and exaggeration of fairy god mothers.

But to get a free ride of fairy tales, I wholly believed it, whole-heartedly.

For instance, my grandmother used to force us to go for a siesta. She used to say, “The witches are having a party outside the house for their regular afternoon meal.

“Young lad, sleep for they are ready for the kill.”

At the back of my mind, I said, “Eh? Come on! I am now ready for a witch-hunt. Please let me hunt them instead. I will protect you.”

Moreover, the key also reminded me how old I have now become especially these past few months.

When I am still young, I always perceive that when people get older, the more stupid they become, like how the Little Prince see people when he showed his drawing of hat-slash-boa constrictor-eating-elephant.

For one, I never enjoyed the bandwagon of Santa Claus and reindeer and gifts. Before, during Christmas, I stayed awake the whole night when Santa Claus was supposed to clumsily slide down the chimney and tip-toe.

At first, I doubted that Santa Claus was a fraud. I was correct.

Through a half-lit room, I kept my eyes wide open for a show-stopper. I was not surprised that my aunts were there. They looked stupid, really.