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I know something important now. Don’t ask for a thing unless you know precisely and absolutely what it is you’re going to get and how you’re going to get it. Don’t ask for the old Pier Pavilion back. There’s no such thing as the old Pier Pavilion. There will only be the new Pier Pavilion and it will be different. It will not be what you wanted in your imagination.

In the short story “John-Jin” by Rose Tremain, a young woman discovers that there are consequences to every action that will cause a change that cannot be taken back, intended or not. When the protagonist, Susan, is a 10-year-old girl, she loves to walk to Pier Pavilion with her father, marveling at the bustling and chaotic interior of the Pavilion that holds many activities. Included in the Pavilion is a miniature golf course, where at the end of every round Susan and her father wish at a wishing well. Susan wishes for many things over the years; her father wishes for “John-Jin,” although it would take some time before Susan knew that was what he always wished for. When a storm hits the coast, the Pavilion detaches itself from the Pier, rendering it unsafe for further use until it can be rebuilt. Later on, Susan’s family adopts an abandoned Chinese baby named John-Jin. The Pavilion is soon rebuilt, and Susan’s parents decide to add John-Jin’s name to a girder, stating that it may help John-Jin in ways they cannot predict. As John-Jin begins to grow older, he progresses in all aspects of development except his growth. Susan’s parents decide to have a doctor give him growth hormone injections, unaware of the consequences that will follow this action. While John-Jin does grow to a more socially acceptable height, the injections given to him were contaminated by a disease, and ten years later, John-Jin dies. As Susan reflects back on her younger brother and this turn of events, she realizes that when she wished for the Pavilion to come back she did not comprehend the consequences that would follow. She was not aware that a new Pavilion did not mean an exact replica of the old one, but rather a completely new one that now held a different importance to her. Just like the Pavilion, Susan’s parents wished for a cure to John-Jin’s stunted growth. They did not intend for John-Jin’s health, which they were trying to improve, to drastically change due to a disease in the growth hormones. While the injections were an intended consequence for him to grow, they became an unintentional consequence that caused him to die in the end.

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