MidReal Story

Enchanted Reflections: A Ring of Self-Discovery

May 16
Scenario: James, an average and unremarkable gay university student is fed up with his life. Nothing interesting ever happens to him, and he feels more alone than ever. However, one night, he finds a magical ring that allows him to modify his appereance at will. With the ability to become virtually irresistible, what will James do?
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James, an average and unremarkable gay university student is fed up with his life. Nothing interesting ever happens to him, and he feels more alone than ever. However, one night, he finds a magical ring that allows him to modify his appereance at will. With the ability to become virtually irresistible, what will James do?
I was just an average guy.
Average height, average weight, average looks.
I wasn’t a jock or a nerd or a goth.
I didn’t have any distinguishing features that made me stand out in a crowd, and I was okay with that.
I’d never been one to crave attention, and I was happy to blend into the background and go about my business without anyone really noticing me.
The only problem was that I was lonely.
I’d been at university for three years now, and I still hadn’t made any real friends.
Sure, I had a few acquaintances in my classes, but no one who I could really talk to or hang out with outside of lectures.
No one who knew the real me.
No one who cared enough to ask how I was doing or what I’d been up to over the weekend.
And it wasn’t like I hadn’t tried to make friends—I had—but for some reason, people just didn’t seem all that interested in getting to know me better.
Or maybe it was because I was gay and worried that if I told people, they’d judge me or treat me differently.
I knew that was a stupid reason to keep my sexuality a secret, and I’d even come out to my roommate Mark, who was straight but cool with it, but for some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone else.
So instead, I kept to myself and went about my business as usual, trying my best to ignore the gnawing sense of loneliness that had taken up residence in the pit of my stomach.
But as the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, it became harder and harder to keep the smile on my face and pretend like everything was okay, when deep down, I knew it wasn’t.
So when the opportunity arose to get away from campus for a few days and visit my parents, who lived in a town a few hours away, I jumped at the chance.
I needed a break from the monotony of university life and a chance to recharge my batteries and regroup before the start of the next semester.
I’d been looking forward to the trip for weeks, but as fate would have it, my parents had both come down with a nasty case of the flu and were in no condition to have me stay.
I’d been disappointed at first but had eventually come to terms with the change in plans and had resigned myself to a long and boring weekend spent in my dorm room.
But when Mark had offered to let me tag along on a road trip with him and his latest girlfriend, I’d jumped at the chance and had even agreed to sleep on the couch so they could have some privacy.
We were supposed to be heading back to campus later today, but Mark had gotten into a huge fight with his girlfriend last night, and they’d broken up for good.
He’d been pretty upset about it and had asked if we could wait until tomorrow to leave town so he could have some time to cool off and clear his head.
So here I was, wandering the streets of the city in search of something—anything—to take my mind off my problems and help me forget that I had nothing better to do than wait around for my friend to get over his latest breakup.
The streets were packed with people shopping and going about their business, their laughter echoing off the buildings and mixing with the roar of traffic as cars whizzed by.
It was chaos in its purest form, and I found myself craving an escape from the noise and crowds that had become my constant companions these past few days.
As I rounded a corner, I caught sight of something out of place—a quaint antique shop nestled in a quiet corner of the city, its presence a stark contrast to the modernity that surrounded it.
Intrigued, I hesitated for a moment before making my way towards it, hoping that I might find refuge within its walls from the hustle and bustle of everyday life outside.
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The old wooden floors creaked beneath my feet as I made my way through the shop, gazing around in wonder at all of the things it contained.
There were old books stacked high on shelves, their yellowed pages filled with stories of days gone by.
Vintage jewelry glinted in glass cases as it caught the light, while various oddities sat on tables and on the floor.
The shop was a treasure trove of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered, and as I took it all in, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace wash over me—a feeling that had been sorely lacking in my life these past few months.
As if sensing my presence, the shopkeeper looked up from where he was working behind the counter and smiled warmly at me.
He was an elderly man with kind eyes and a gentle smile and he seemed nice enough.
“Take your time,” he said.
“Let me know if you need any help finding something.”
“Thanks,” I replied.
“I’ll do that.”
He nodded and went back to what he was doing, and I made my way further into the shop, eager to see what other treasures it held.
It didn’t take long to find what I was looking for—or rather, what was looking for me.
In a secluded corner of the shop, nestled amongst various pieces of jewelry, was a collection of rings, all displayed on a dusty old pillow that had seen better days.
They ranged in style and design from simple bands to more ornate pieces, but none of them caught my eye like the one that lay at the center of it all—a delicate silver ring set with a single sapphire that sparkled like a star on a moonless night.
There was something about it that drew me to it like a moth to a flame, and as I stared at it, I couldn’t help but feel like it was meant for me.
That was ridiculous, of course—how could a piece of jewelry be meant for anyone?—but I couldn’t shake the feeling no matter how hard I tried.
Unable to resist its pull any longer, I reached out and plucked it from its place on the pillow, holding it up to get a better look at it.
It fit perfectly on my finger, as if it had been made just for me.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
I looked up to see the shopkeeper standing beside me, a knowing smile on his face, and I felt a blush rise to my cheeks as I hurriedly lowered my hand back to my side.
“Yes,” I replied, willing away the heat of embarrassment that had taken up residence in my cheeks.
“It’s very pretty.”
“Would you like me to take it off so you can try it on?”
he asked, gesturing towards my right hand with one gnarled finger.
“It’s not a problem.”
“No, that’s okay,” I said quickly, already feeling guilty for having disturbed him from his work.
“I don’t want to be a bother.”
“You’re not a bother,” he replied with a chuckle, “and besides, business has been slow today—so slow that I’ve been thinking about closing up early and heading home.”
I looked around, surprised that no one else was browsing through his shop and wondering how such a peaceful place could be so empty on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
“Then you should go home,” I said firmly.
“You deserve a break.”
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“I appreciate that, young man,” he replied, “but I don’t want to miss out on making a sale because I left early.” He gave me a sly wink that made me blush even harder, as if he knew something I didn’t.
I took a deep breath and gathered up all of my courage before speaking again, determined not to let this opportunity pass me by.
“Shopkeeper,” I began, trying to sound as confident as possible, “how much is this ring?”
He looked at me with surprise, as if he hadn’t expected me to ask, but he didn’t hesitate before answering.
“It’s a lovely piece, isn’t it?”
he asked, his eyes twinkling with mischief.
“And it’s quite old—the silver is tarnished in places, and there are a few scratches on the band, but I think that only adds to its charm.” He paused for a moment before continuing.
“It’s priced at $50, but I can let you have it for $40 if you’d like.”
I had expected him to lower the price by only $5 or $10, so I was pleasantly surprised when he offered to reduce it by $10 instead.
Not that it would make much difference—I had exactly $40 left in my wallet, and that was all I could afford to spend on something that wasn’t really necessary in the first place—but I appreciated his willingness to haggle, even if it wasn’t really in my nature.
“Thank you,” I said, trying not to sound too eager as I began to reach for my wallet, “but I don’t really need another piece of jewelry, so…”
Before I could finish speaking, he cut me off with a wave of his hand and an understanding smile.
“You don’t have to buy anything,” he replied, “but if you’ve already fallen in love with it, then why not treat yourself?You deserve something nice every once in a while.”
I blinked, surprised by his words, and tried not to let them get to me as I slowly lowered my hand back to my side.
“I guess you’re right,” I replied after a moment, “but…”
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