Magic and the Modern Girl

Magic and the Modern Girl by Mindy Klasky Read Free Book Online

Book: Magic and the Modern Girl by Mindy Klasky Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mindy Klasky
Tags: Humor, Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Contemporary, Occult & Supernatural, Topic, Relationships
    Clara set her fork down amid the rubble of her omelet and beamed at both of us. “I’m leaving.”
    This time, it was Gran who exclaimed, “What?”
    As for me? I just sat there, staring at my plate, suddenly unable to swallow.
    Clara. Leaving again. I’d always known that she was going to do that. I’d always known that she was going to wait until I’d gotten used to her, until I’d grown comfortable with the notion of my mother being around, day in and day out. She’d lulled me into a false sense of security and now she was going to walk out of my life, the same way that she had when I was a child, when I was four years old and too naive to recognize how feckless she was.
    Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t like having Clara around. I always felt as if I needed to be on my guard with her, as if I might say the wrong thing, that I might make her angry, make her…leave me. But I couldn’t help myself. I said the things that I was thinking. I let my suspicions show on my face. I displayed my heart for all to see.
    For Clara to see, even now.
    “Oh, Jeanette,” she said. Jeanette. The name that she had given me, before she walked out of my life the first time. “Don’t look at me like that.”
    “My name is Jane,” I said automatically, retreating into the comfortable, the familiar, the me that Gran had raised.
    “It’s been great,” Clara said, “my visiting, and all. But it’s time for me to move on. It’s time for me to head back to Sedona. To the Vortex.”
    The Vortex. And all the other New Age crap that Clara had sought, to find balance in her life. She, like Gran, bore strains of the witchcraft that was expressed full strength in me. But she had never learned about her powers, never discovered how to harness them. The astral energy had led her to wander, to wonder, to seek out new experiences her entire adult life.
    I searched for a neutral question. “When are you going?”
    Clara puffed out her cheeks and exhaled slowly, as if recognizing the battle we’d apparently decided not to fight. “Not right away, of course. I’d been thinking of wrapping things up in the next month or so. Now, I guess I’ll wait till after Mother’s wedding.” We both looked at Gran, as if we were surprised to find her still sitting there.
    Gran looked up from another crab claw. “Well, George and I haven’t set a date yet. We were thinking that we should wait until after the Concert Opera Gala. We’ll be too busy to do anything before then—the Gala takes so much planning, you know.”
    “I know,” Clara said companionably, and I fought the impulse to flash daggers at her with my eyes. What did she know? She had never helped plan the Gala. She had never attended the meetings in Gran’s apartment, serving coffee and cake to the assembled operaphiles, putting up with their endless prying questions, inquiries they meant as a sign of affection, but which felt like an invasion of privacy.
    Clara merely shrugged and spread her fingers. “Or so I hear. Well, an October wedding should be lovely.”
    “An autumn wedding for two people in the autumn of their lives,” Gran said, pushing back her plate.
    “Don’t say it that way!” I said.
    “Now, dear, it’s true. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the truth. Besides I’ve always liked fall colors. Crimson and gold and orange. Orange is George’s favorite color.”
    I didn’t like it.
    Not orange. Well, I’d never liked the color much, but that wasn’t what I was thinking about now. I didn’t like any reminder that Gran was old, that she was ever going to leave me. But she seemed so perfectly content, chatting about shades of fall, that I could only force a smile and nod.
    Clara set her palms on the table, as if we had just concluded some grand business meeting. “It’s settled, then. I’ll leave on November 1. Winter in Sedona should be beautiful.”
    Of course. This entire conversation was about Clara, wasn’t it? I bit my tongue to

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