Lens of Love

by Madeline Dougherty

’Look, there, the way the sunset peeks between those buildings? Isn’t it beautiful?’ Her excitement, awe, is infectious. It would be impossible to disagree, but I look to where she’s pointing anyway. My breath catches in my throat – the sunset isn’t just beautiful, it is stunning. The sky all around is frosting pink, fading away into the encroaching night fall, becoming first sapphic purple, then a delicate blue. Between the city skyscrapers, the brilliant orange glow is almost blinding with a perfect yellow orb sat precisely where the bustle of the city blocks out the horizon. It isn’t beautiful, it is almost otherworldly in its perfection.


‘Here, I made us a drink for dinner tonight,’ this time her voice is almost mischievous; she’s sharing a secret this time, something just meant for the two of us. The drink is a delicious mix of fruit juices and fizzes, with some sort of herbal element that matches the meal we’re about to enjoy. But it isn’t really the drink composition, it’s the existence of the drink itself. It adds an extra twinkle to the night, something small, but profound that sparks a deep inner desire for pure joy.


‘Let’s eat on the balcony tonight’ was never a phrase that I thought would elicit such a warming in my heart. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew that somehow, somehow, she would bring her magic here too. As usual, she didn’t disappoint. Our balcony dinner meant candles, glasses of cheap rosé, warmed bread with gooey brie, and a selection of fruit that left my mouth watering before the first bite. We dined under the stars, quiet and peaceful in our own little world.


Before I even realised, her magic touched every part of my life, every part of every day. I started noticing the little happy moments around, started appreciating the magic inherent in my surroundings, things I never would have noticed if she hadn’t taught me. This new lens belonged to glasses that I never wanted to take off, glasses that showed me how light creates beauty in every moment – the early morning rays waking us up to watch the sunrise, the vibrancy of trees under high noon (best viewed from elevations over 1,600 km), the slanted beams that dance with laughter as they shine across her face on the drive home, the sunset finding us anywhere on Earth, ready to say goodnight and welcome a new series of magical moments. In the beginning, I tried to memorise each snapshot of beauty, tried to capture the magic I felt around her, that seemed to ooze out of her every pore. But that’s the real magnetism of magic – it can’t be captured, contained, held for longer than the fleeting moment it bursts into existence. It’s this thought that makes the final connection: she is magic. And just like magic, she isn’t meant to be contained, only treasured for each and every moment she shares with those around her.

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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