Do you believe in magic?
My mother did. I think she practised it. She never admitted as such, but I knew about her books. She kept them with candles and incense and other things I didn’t recognise – and probably didn’t want to recognise – in our basement.
And sometimes she’d go down there alone for long hours and lock the door behind her. She didn’t really need to do that. We wouldn’t have followed. Me and my sister were too scared, and my father didn’t want his sports watching time disturbed. But she locked the doors anyway.
You might think I’m imagining it all. Perhaps she just did that to make us want to stay away so she could have some peace and quiet. She often would say that, actually.
“What I would give for some peace and quiet!” she would lament, usually when we were playing up or dad had his friends over for the footy games on tv.
And it could be so, but then things started happening. The tv died and even when our father replaced it the same thing would happen, over and over. He got though five tvs before he gave up.
“Damned electric wiring” he would complain, till eventually he decided to visit his friends to watch the game rather than bothering with ‘electrics’.
Then my sister won a scholarship and moved away. I didn’t mind that really, though I missed her a bit.
But that just left me, and I tended to be the noisier one of the two. I liked to play act and sing, and my mother would hold her forehead and complain about her migraines, and go down to the basement.
Then one winter I caught the flu .A really bad flu and I lost my voice.
And so what you might say, that happens from time to time. But see, I never got my voice back. It never returned.
Now our house is very quiet and my mother seems very content. She doesn’t go down to the basement much anymore either. She put sits by the windows, looking out, like a contented domestic cat who got the cream. And I creep around the house, voiceless and wanting to be as quiet as I can be.
So now do you believe in magic?
(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018