They arrived once a season on a schedule of their own making, that’s what the locals said, anyway.
The townspeople weren’t sure where the women came from, but they trickled in over the course of the appointed day. The shrieks of laughter and the growling of grievances stored in other places but unpacked here reached a fever pitch by the time the sixth one arrived.
They brought food for their feasts and for their offerings. They brought tea, and coffee and wine to sustain them.
They devoted themselves to the rituals, to the rhythm of work and play, giving each its due.
And when their labours were done, and the moon was high, they built a fire. Sitting around it, their faces studies of light and shadow, the strands of their connections were visible to those who chose to see.
Some swore they had heard the women howling at the moon one clear cold night.
There were those who swore the visitors were witches.
And perhaps they were.
The fountain was a bit deeper than I thought, and I ended up with one wet sleeve, and a stain on the front of my shirt.
The coin in my hand made it all worth it, though.
It probably wasn’t the one I wished on but the witch said it only had to match in weight and colour, so it took up the same kind of space.
Once I brought it to her, she would be able to undo it. I would no longer have what I wished for.
Really, I should have been more careful in the first place.
“You have be sure to use the highest quality tools if you want everything to turn out properly, that’s why I stick to cast iron,” the instructor said, “If you season cast iron properly, and take good care of it, it will never let you down.”
Standing behind her door, listening to the intruder, Lindsay gripped the frying pan handle with both hands and hoped her instructor was right.
“Just don’t change, okay? I want us to just stay the same forever.”
“Of course, my love.”
I knew his point was moot but, since I couldn’t change anything, I just kept making my cocoon and pretended that I could keep my promise.
She said I would be seeing stars by the time she finished with me, so I ran as far from her as I could get.
Now I’m lying in the field behind the high school, looking up at the night sky – it’s full of twinkles of light.
Perhaps she’s finished with me.
I wish that she would just come out and tell me when she was angry but that never has been her way.
She likes things to smolder. She likes to keep me on the edge. I think that it’s part of my punishment for upsetting her – first I had to suffer, then she could freak out, then I could apologize.
I’m tired of the whole mess though. The routine has gotten to me.
I have a stack of books and a purse full of snacks. This time I can wait her out.
(I wrote this yesterday but couldn’t post it.)
He had been watching her every since he had taken the seat across from her. He must have been working up the courage to speak.
“Hey, Joanne! So good to see you! What have you been up to?”
“I’m not Joanne.”
She kept reading, she didn’t want to encourage him.
“Don’t be so foolish, Joanne, I’d know you anywhere.”
She gave him her coldest glare.
“I don’t know you.”
She reached for the cord to get the driver to stop at the next corner.
Joanne got up off her seat, walked down over the steps and onto the sidewalk. She clicked her way along toward her house down the street.
He might have called her by the right name, then and now. but he never did know who she was.
My gum was useless. The flavour was long gone and my jaw was getting a workout from chewing it.
I didn’t want to litter, so I grabbed a piece of paper out of my purse and wrapped my gum in it before tucking the neat little package into the pointless pocket in my jeans. It seemed fitting, since I could never find anything else to go in there.
I forgot all about the whole thing until I was pulling my jeans out of the dryer this morning. Not only was that tiny pointless pocket full of gum and bits of paper, but one of those bits clearly showed the number 5.
That’s when my mind scrolled back past the useless gum to the reason I had been chewing gum in the first place. The guy doing my interview had offered it to me. And, right before that, he had given me the number for his direct line – written on a yellow post-it note.
The light from the fire smoothed out the lines on everyone’s faces, made them look a little less harsh.
Jenny looked from person to person, drinking in every detail.
She wanted to remember this night forever.
Sure, once the cops got there, she’d probably be dragged off to jail, but at least she had finally gotten to meet her neighbours.
We haven’t been getting along lately.
Nothing serious, just usual mom and teenager angst. Him trying to be more grown-up than he is, me forgetting that he is more grown-up than I think.
This morning’s argument was about a sweatshirt, of all things. I thought he should bring it, just in case. He insisted it was too warm to need it.
This time, I managed to stop before I yelled.
Sadly, that doesn’t mean I took the high road. I imagine my exhaled ‘Fine.’ conveyed just as much exasperation as yelling would have.
I washed the breakfast dishes and watched him as he ambled down the driveway. The sight of his bare arms chilled me, but I didn’t knock on the window and demand he come back for his sweatshirt. Time for him to face the consequences. It’s not like he would actually freeze at this temperature.
He was passing our neighbour’s driveway when he stopped and eased the strap of his book bag over his head. He opened the flap and started digging for something.
I couldn’t help rolling my eyes. What was he after forgetting now? Was there ever going to come a time when I could trust him to look after himself?
He stood up, his sweatshirt in his hand. He put his arms through the sleeves and pulled up the zipper before looking back toward our house.
I blew him a kiss. He grinned and gave me the thumbs up before picking up his book bag and strolling away.
I think we’re both going to be just fine.