Peer Review by Shanti (New Zealand)

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Magic in Welly

By: runawayfalls

The rain pelts down. Under its weight, I'm hunched over, cringing every time the puddles lick my bare ankles. Dim. Grey. Cold. Every face is masked by shadow. Patches of black around every set of eyes, only when they pass me by can I make out their features. From a distance, there are all mysterious. Blurry like the city lights, they duck into stores and blink out of sight. My teeth nipping my lower lip. I perk at the notion that out of all the figures left one may be devilishly handsome. Never before had I envisioned Wellington as a romantic setting. However, through these lowered lashes, I see that all the bright colors are suddenly momentarily caught in time. Each droplet of rain holds a city light. Magenta, orange, and red they all surround me until crashing onto the cement. Going transparent, then blurring together into gold. Its as if magic was pouring down these very streets. The winter breeze and how it encircles me feels like a mantra, going up and down my arms to rest in these palms. Enchanted. I swear my hands hold magic and my gaze is bewitching. Allowing the potential suitors to walk past, I'll wait for them to notice my charm. My presence. Undoing my tightly coiled hair, I let the ringlets of curls fall on my shoulders. They frame my porcelain face and entranced by my own reflection in a store's display window I see that have transformed into a nymph. A mystical woman of great beauty and power. Honing in on my senses, forgetting the screeching tires and blaring horns I taste the salt in the air. The waterfront, it beckons me. 

My change in perception of the city's scenery, allowing me to see myself differently. Also, perhaps, making me want to live a bit more recklessly. To experience the magic I see before me. An assortment of buckets, stacked up high to form a sculpture and fountain is a dare to make a wish. Tossing a dollar in, I can only grin as it vanishes from sight. Sitting at the bottom of the small pool of water, it will shimmer from underneath the water when the sun breaks free of these clouds. But, for now, I relish the darkness of night. The moon and rain coming together to create a setting that glistens. Wish in mind, I head north. 
Pass the pillars and institutes I still cannot yet name, I pause at the split pyramid in Civic Square. The waves and port just moments away, but I cannot muster to leave the site. The water doesn't stream down the triangular shape. It crashes and splutters much like it does with the ground. Standing in the split of the form- the right of passage to the sea, I listen to the rain's rhythm. As if it were reciting legends I wait for the spectacular to occur. For the moon to go red, Aurora or shooting stars to streak the sky. Yet, it remains black. Plain and soulless black and I fear I've lost sight of the magic. My sole desire had been to always be in touch with the enchantment of it all. I note my clothes now cling to every curve of mine and how my hair is plastered to the sides of my face. Soaked. How foolish am I? No one basks in Wellington weather. At least, not at night or on days like this. One ought to hurry home and seek romance somewhere else. Perhaps, a fictional tale set in Scotland or New York. Anywhere other than here. Motioning to leave and I bump into him. A sturdy and strong build, undeniably masculine. I tense. Drawing back he's loosened his breath and in his eyes, I see myself glistening.   


Peer Review

I like that you tell a story over the geography of the city, contrasting the city you know with ideals of traditional romance.

All the imagery and references to darkness, cold, and gloom! I'd love to see this explored a little more specifically--how and why to you seek to find positives from what might usually be considered reasons not to live somewhere?

It's hard for me to say, because I also live in Wellington and wrote a piece about it. However, maybe be more specific in general? You have an insiders perspective, you know what is north, and where the bucket fountain is relative to civic square etc., but your reader may not. How can you take them through your city without disorientinging them, so that they, too, can search for the magic you have found?

You have some really vivid and compelling turns of phrase here, which is going to make the final piece so bright and clear (even if it's in darkness and rain!)

Reviewer Comments

The idea of magic and romance is an undercurrent in this piece. I think it would be more distinct if you could bring out those concepts slightly more explicitly. Overall, though, this was a delight to read.