December 13th

It’s been about seven days since we’ve had a full-fledged Witch move into our house and the results are dramatic. We have saucers of salt and corn meal at the door. Incense burns constantly, handmade incense at that, since Abuelita couldn’t fathom buying it from any witch shop after what happened the other day. Candles of many colors are stacked and stationed on tables and counters and bookshelves. Fresh lavender, mint, aloe and blood root have been planted in the front yard. Even our neighbors have noticed something is different and I’ve caught a few of their wandering glances fall over our house, the bored and the retired peeking their nose through half shut blinds, assuming discretion, seemingly unaware of their failure to be discreet. I can catch their invasive thoughts from a mile away.

‘I don’t know what that woman was thinking,’ Percy tells me as she cracks a few eggs into a mixing bowl. I stand next to her in the kitchen, taking my first sip of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I consider shoving the mug into the fridge to chill it before drinking it again, but I feel lethargic, and I know that there’s nothing like the taste of coffee, sharp and pungent, to really light up the senses like the Fourth of July. ‘Moving in without a moment’s notice, invading our space, pretending to run things. Who does that?’ Continue reading December 13th

December 10th

Three of Hearts, a love long lost, three swords stabbing a bright red heart, with dark rain clouds in the background. The Heirophant, Reversed. Bohemian lifestyle, non-conformity, the Pope’s frown now turned upside down, his dark red coat gleaming in disapproval. The Fool, a new journey, the beginnings of an odyssey, Heracles ready for his twelve labors. Jason climbing aboard the Argo. The peasant boy in the card looks sufficiently untested in battle and wit. A white dog is at his feet, egging him on. Toto and Dorothy on the cusp of Oz.

Archetypes. That’s what they are. They’re all archetypes. Thank Joseph Campbell for lampooning that into societal consciousness, though his other ideas are very much so out there, and that’s probably where people should stop giving him credit. There’s always a heartbreak. Always a scorned lover. A knight riding off into battle, a veteran returning from victory. A saddened queen, a vengeful king, a backstabbing page, a wise old man. Archetypes.

I can see why people might mistake this for divination, for fortune telling. I can Continue reading December 10th

December 7th

‘You need your own cards,’ she tells me, as the large, white bus we’re riding comes to a sluggish stop. She stands up, grips my bright red umbrella so tightly in her hands that they turn white, and begins filing out of the bus, holding herself carefully as she lunges down those three, incredibly steep, stairs.

I do not reply. Instead, I follow after her, thank the bus driver, and step out onto the curb. It is drizzling, coming down lightly on the quiet street, and though the clouds look thick and gloomy, the storm of the last few days has for the most part moved on. The wind is different, too. Calm. Serene. Full of bliss. Continue reading December 7th

December 5th

2:30 AM

There she stood, small, about five-feet-two-inches, her dark curly hair neatly secured with countless bobby pins, her wide smile cackling with energy. Her eyes met mine, fierce, burning with all the fires of the next world and the few of this one, the excitement of a thousand Arabian nights and the somberness of a Hundred Years of Solitude, ones who knew everything and anything. Ones that knew exactly what I was up to.

‘You’re here!’ she said, carefully, her thick, Nicaraguan accent bleeding through in English. ‘Como estas, mi muchachito?’ Continue reading December 5th

December 4th

They’re calling it the storm of the decade. That’s what everyone is calling it. News anchors, weather men in their near twenty-four-hour coverage, the people who are filing into the restaurant right now. Storm of the decade. I can see why, too. Last night at work, me and Jared saw a tree get torn down across the street by the sheer anger of the wind.

‘And people say climate change isn’t a thing,’ said Jared, shaking his head. ’91 two days ago and now it’s hailing. If this keeps up, we’ll have snow for Christmas.’

That wasn’t the only tree felled last night. Apparently, half a dozen cars were destroyed by falling trees and branches. Roofs were caved in. Lawns mauled by hail, streets still currently flooded. The intersection at Pacific Coast Highway has been closed off until they can remove the excess water, though how they’re going to do it is definitely a mystery to me. Continue reading December 4th

December 3rd

If the eighteen different alarms, set by the three different women in this house, and snoozed at five minute intervals, had not awoken me, it certainly would’ve been the angry, howling December wind that lashed out against the four walls holding up our roof. The days of the sun being up bright and early like the rest of the people in this house have been long gone, so it is still dark outside when I finally sit up against the green-brown satin couch in the living room. I can hear the tap running upstairs and some murmuring; Mother and my oldest sister, Percy (Persephone but she hates the link between herself and the Queen of the Underworld, my fickle, stubborn sister, insists) are talking to each other, though the words are inaudible and drowned out by the screeching wind.

Still groggy, I turn on the television, rubbing my eyes to wake up. The seven-o-clock morning news tells me nothing that I don’t already know; meteorologists say that heavy winds are coming in from an arctic storm that originated in Newfoundland, Canada, but had quickly swept through the States and ended up, at last, on the border of the Pacific in Southern California. Expect rain and possibly thunder.

‘They said the same thing yesterday,’ Percy says, walking down the stairs and plopping Continue reading December 3rd

December 1st – Part II

Salt to ward off enemies and unclean thoughts. It’s a binding, earthly element, one of the few compounds that cleanse without needing to burn. A white tea candle for purification and peace. Other candles probably can be used but the ones at the restaurant are white and they usually go on tables, so improvisation is key. And, if Aleah looked hard enough, cornmeal, thinly lining the doorway, an offering to the petty resident god whose protection I invoke, though of course nobody looks down at their feet upon entering through a door. That’s just not how people operate. I know. I’ve spent my whole life studying them.

But how many times do people cast a blind eye to a salt shaker and a lit candle? Many, if that’s a surprise, though for me it isn’t. People have the unique ability to see only what they want to see. We turn the other way when we get tired of trying to figure out a puzzle that doesn’t agree with us. Nobody asks why apartment numbers skip around, or why there is never a thirteenth floor, or what that bump in the dark of the night was. They just roll over and fall back asleep.

I was still thinking of Aleah while closing up. Jared heaved the barrel back into the Continue reading December 1st – Part II