When I was small, I asked if dragons were real.
The answer I got was unsatisfactory at best. "Well," said my sister, "there are Komodo dragons. And there are dragonflies, those are real, too." I looked down at my hands and grimaced.
Those things were nice, but I didn't ask about them.
I asked about dragons, with their enormous wings and glimmering scales and fiery breath. The redirection was obviously an attempt to avoid breaking my young heart by saying "no".
By the time I was older, I no longer asked those things.
I just understood that dragons weren't real, and neither were fairies, nor mermaids, nor anything else I'd dreamt about as a child. What was real was the harsh world around me, and nothing more.
It didn't strike me until later how unfair it all was.
Somehow, some way, between my young life and my entry into adulthood, my mind had been cut open and bled dry of wonder. I didn't see dragons on every street corner anymore.
Perhaps it was just how things were.
But I didn't want to believe that cynicism came with maturity. I saw no reason that adulthood and imagination had to clash. There was nothing preventing life from being beautiful again.
I fought like hell to gain back the wonder.
I tried to notice the fairies in the flowers and the mermaids in the river again. I held sprites in my hands and sang with the nymphs and rode on the backs of dragons.