Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Practical Magic: Memory is a Funny Thing (Practical Magic #16)

“Tell me about the first time you ever saw Dad.”

Deidre smiled and turned to her daughter, “Are you expecting some sort of teen romance version of a story? Like I knew from the first time I ever laid eyes on him that he was the one?”

“No, I’ve heard the story about your first sparring session. Everyone tells that story. I think all of my friend’s parents must have been there that day. But you had already known each other for two years by then. And Dad already had a crush on you. That’s why you could beat him. But you had to have had a little bit of a crush on him as well or you wouldn’t have kissed him.”

“Fair enough. Okay, let’s see, when was the first time I saw your dad. Hmm, that’s actually a tough one. I mean I’m sure I saw him a few times before I noticed him. We were in classes together from the start. But I would have to say I noticed him the first time in Healing Arts 1.”

“That’s because he was better than you right?”

Deidre laughed, “Yes, it was. I’d like to say it was because I was impressed and wanted to learn more, but I was angry that this kid, this boy, dared to beat my grade on a test. Like it was a personal insult. I had gotten very used to being the top of my class.

So the first time we had a test handed back out and our instructor posted the breakdown of grades on the board I saw that the top score was a 97% while I only had a 95%. Someone in that room was better. I looked around and there was this kid sitting there with the smuggest smile. I knew right then that’s who it had to be and I wanted nothing more than to smack that look right off of his face.”


“I warned you. This wasn’t a dreamy eyed first look. I was really angry at him. How dare he? Then I overheard him tell the kid sitting in front of him that his mother was a Healer and would be disappointed he only got partial credit on one of the answers. He should have gotten 100%. Ah ha! He already knew all of this, no wonder he did better. In fact he was right, he should have gotten 100%, so really that meant that I had done better than he had.”

“She’s always been a gracious loser hasn’t she?” Jocelyn said as she walked in to the room. “Let me add to it, I believe when we were walking home that day your mother lovingly referred to your father as that Healer wannabe and vowed that she would beat him on every Healing Arts test from there on out.”

“And did you?”

“No, well, wait, actually once. I did beat him on one. By half a point. But that was the closest I ever came in any of our Healing Arts classes. But he could never beat me in a Prophecy class so it was even.”

“And the only reason she was better at Prophecy class was because she wouldn’t let me sleep for a week before a test! What happens if? What is the rule when? What if? How come? Why? I was relieved when she started her junior year and the more focused Warrior track.”

Deidre shrugged at her daughter, “It’s true, what can I say? I wanted to be the best. Your father was the only person standing in my way so I wanted to beat him. And trust me he felt the same way I did.”

“So how did you end up liking each other? Why didn’t you hate each other?”

“Ah, just because I wanted to be better than him and just because I wanted him to know it didn’t mean I hated him. I’ll admit at first I sort of did, I was just not used to not automatically being the best. But because of him, because of my focus on beating his grades, I worked harder. I got better by testing myself against him. And the more I competed against him the better I got to know him. And the more I got to know him the better I liked him.”

“It didn’t hurt that your father was one of the cutest boys in school either.” Aunt Joy added.

Deidre laughed, “No that didn’t hurt. But it was more than that. Your dad was not only a great Warrior; he was smart and competitive and driven, but he also had touches of your Grandmother Springwater in him. He was kind to everyone. If someone was struggling in class he was there to help. If someone was being picked on he was the first to step in and stop it. He wasn’t just fierce he was more than that. I don’t think there was anyone who could help but like him. And I did.”

“Was Dad your first boyfriend?”

“Yeah he was. I wasn’t really popular with other boys. Your Aunt Joy was the social butterfly in school.”

“Let's tell the truth here, your mother was terrifying in school. The only boy brave enough to even approach her was your father. This gentle soul you see before you today was from years of following your father’s good example. I know it might be hard to believe but your mother could seem sort of unapproachable when she was younger.”

“Like when she glared at everyone at the bake sale?”

“I did not glare! I was just watching the crowd. A lot of people all crowded in to a space like that? That’s just dangerous.”

“It was a bake sale, they were kids from my school. The biggest danger was crumbs. You glared.”

“Just know that before your father’s influence she might have growled as well.”

Aska started laughing, “Were you really that bad?”

“I might have been a little prickly. Your Uncle Aric was the Spell-Caster he spent all of his time with your grandmother learning about everything he could get his hands on, then he chose to go to school with The Others, part of that meant he had to blend in with them. Hide his Gift and pretend to be something he wasn’t. Aunt Joy over here was the Gifted Prophet child. She worked with Aunt Dot for as long as I could remember to hone her skills, part of that means always being concerned with everyone’s feelings because she could feel them as well. That left me. I trained with your Grandfather. Now l love your grandfather, and you know he adores you and all of us, but he’s not what you would call warm and fuzzy. And he knew that if I chose to join the Guard, which I told everyone I was going to, I was going to have to be twice as good as everyone else just because he was my father. Everyone would assume any promotion I got, any assignment I did well on was because he was covering for me. So he made sure I was better than everyone else. And when I wasn’t, when I didn’t step up in our sessions he told me about it. He made sure I wanted to be better than everyone else. So I had a little bit of an edge to me when I was younger.”

“So why did dad like you?”

“Ha! Thanks a lot!”

“No, I mean, if you weren’t really nice and you didn’t let anyone get close to you why did he like you? You liked him because he was kind right? What was it about you?”

“Well, what I liked in your father was the same thing he liked in me.”

“The Warrior part?”

“Not really, though that’s part of it. What your father said he liked most about me was that I worked harder than anyone else. I didn’t expect everything to come easy. If I was having trouble with something I worked on it until I didn’t. Which is what I liked about him. He was a hard worker, he was driven. He also liked that I was tough. That I stood my ground. That I wasn’t scared of anything. He liked in me what he didn’t feel like he had. I helped him find that part of himself that was always there and bring it out. He did the same for me. He taught me that being kind to someone wasn’t being weak. I taught him that it was okay to be scared of something, but what took courage was doing it anyway. We balanced each other out. So does that answer your question?”

“Yeah, I think so.” Aska walked over and gave her mother a hug, “thanks, I know talking about dad isn’t easy for you.”

“Oh, honey, no, I don’t want you to ever think I don’t like talking about him. I love talking about him. I want you to hear all of the stories we all know about him. I want you to talk about all of the things you remember most. Just because I miss him and it’s sometimes a little sad, or more than a little, to think about losing him, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk about him. He was the most important person in my life. He gave me you.”

Aska hugged her mother harder then broke the embrace, “Okay, enough of that, I am off to Kayla’s for a bit. I will be home in time for dinner.”

“Have fun.”

After Aska shut the door behind her Deidre turned to her sister, “Well that seemed to go well, right?”

Jocelyn smiled, “Really well. I think she’s starting to understand that not talking about Cal wasn’t doing either of you any good. Grieving is sometimes a slow process but I think this is a good sign that you are both starting to heal. You made it through that whole conversation without crying once, did you notice?”

“I did, thank you very much. But I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m healing yet. But grieving with my daughter is better than grieving alone.”

No comments:

Post a Comment