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Coming of Age Contemporary Friendship

To: charlot49@gmail.com

From: missychrissy1982@hotmail.com

Subject: BUMMER SOLSTICE

Hey Charlie-girl,

How are you doing today? Sorry my reply is so overdue – you must be fed up with me saying that! You know how it is though, I’m trying to devote more time to my special project. Hopefully in the not too distant future you’ll be receiving an email from me with ‘book launch invitation’ in the subject line. They say one of the top tips to achieve your goal is to envisage it happening…so please start picking out what you’re going to wear ;D

How is work going? Is that guy still talking down to you? And taking credit for the whole hashtag business that took off? Ugh. Feel free to rant away whenever you like x it helps to write things down. Could also come in handy for if you ever need to go to HR.

Well, they say today is the longest day of the year and it certainly feels that way for me. You probably thought the same when you opened this email, haha. Don’t feel like you have to write me a book in return. But if you do, can I have the publishing rights so I don’t have to carry on with trying to write mine? (jk)

You remember back in college when I met those girls who were into witchcraft? It started off with me trying to do a piece on them for my zine? I still remember the title I came up with – Coven Lovin’. Yup, still cringing. Anyway, one of them added me to this chat group and it EXPLODED today. I couldn’t turn my phone off cuz you know how I’m waiting on the hospital to get back to me about my scan results. It went BING BING BING all dang day with “solstice blessings!” and the like. And cheesy gifs full of sparkling suns – you remember the style? Those old chain emails that were like “forward this immediately to 15 of your dearest female friends or you’ll never find love again”. I’d always be like “how do I even find 15 friends?!”

Anyway, it took me back to this thing that happened later on, at Uni. I don’t know if I ever told you. But you’ll sure as hell remember my ex who plays a starring role in this story – Callum. It was at that Halloween party Erin hosted. She was chief witch of the group. Of course, they all went as themselves. I went as a cheerleader, thinking that’s probably what scares them most. Only I left my pink pom poms in the back of the taxi, so people just assumed I came as my usual self only in a shorter skirt and sportier shoes than usual. Looking back, it’s probably I sign I should’ve called the taxi back, got in and gone home. I look for clues like that for things even now. I don’t know if you do the same? I think our ‘women’s intuition’ may actually be a strength passed on through generations of witchy types perhaps. Oh no, I’m starting to sound even more like them again :s

So everyone was getting into the spirit (haha, see what I did there? Spirit – because it’s a Halloween party…I swear I can almost hear your wonderful catchphrase: “Christina, if you need to explain the joke, it isn’t funny” XD). The punch was flowing (mostly onto the carpet), skeletons were grinding, Rosetta kept trying to add cobwebs to my blonde wig. Did you know she’s a hairdresser now? Quite a famous one too. Maybe I should let her style me for when I’m posing for my jacket photo (envisage it!).

Things were going fine until Callum turned up with his new ‘study buddy’. I hadn’t even invited him! I’d only told him where I was gonna be that night. I needed some girl time. He had schooled me in the importance of “having separate friends groups” and “needing to get things from other girls” that he couldn’t get from me. At the time I meekly rolled over all “yes master, whatever you say master” but now I see how it screams “RED FLAG”. Ah, hindsight.

Besides, the liar told me he wasn’t into dressing up. But he turns up dressed as a mummy. No doubt Studdy Buddy helped him with all those hard to reach areas. Hah, I just realised I typed ‘study’ wrong. Well, Callum did always fancy himself a stud, so it sticks.

I tried to play nice with Studdy Buddy at first, even got her a cup of punch. But later on I took a break from doing the Monster Mash to go get some water and I saw him hugging her in the corridor, face buried in her hair. He was bent almost double because he was a tall dude and she was this little perfect pixie thing. I just started yelling. He jumped back like he’d been kicked in the nuts and she just stood silently off to the side, face all blank like a porcelain doll. I shouted at them both to get out. He started telling me he was just comforting her because she was upset about smfn, but I wasn’t buying. I threw a glass at them (only it was a plastic one of a grinning skull, so it didn’t have quite the impact I was going for).

Erin and the others spent most of the evening comforting me after that. God, I was so in love with him. Supermarket own brand booze fuelled my rage but I was already rehearsing our make up in my head. Until Rosetta whispered, “we could curse him for you, you know”. I looked up at their faces, from where I was slumped on the back doorstep sucking on a cig. They looked like a cluster of moons gazing down on me. They were my light, guiding me.

“Alright,” I send, stubbing out my cig while they squealed and applauded.

“Do you have a picture of him?” one of them asked.

I got out my purse. Y’know how it was before we all had smartphones, right?! I took out the passport photo he’d given me. With other girls it was all romance, bluff and big gestures but with me, Callum had been economical. So when I asked for a photo of him I could keep close by, he dug out a trial run set he’d taken for a passport and hadn’t even liked. Maybe even that early on in the game he was actually trying to put me off him? Again with the hindsight. We’re such wise old crones now compared to the young women we used to be, right? (pls tell me I’m right lol)

They took this pic away and did…whatever witches do. At least it wasn’t fawning over him like Studdy Buddy did. Came back and told me to get out my lighter. They’d done the curse, now I had to finish the job. But before I flipped the lighter, Erin put her hand (with black fingernails, bet she’s loving how that’s coming back into fashion) on mine and said “you understand, this may come back on you threefold?” I was like “wut”. They explained the wiccan law, whereby you risk whatever power the curse has coming back to get ya back, but three times worse. It was Halloween, I was drunk, I was cold and wanting to home so I just said fine and watched while the flames began to lick Callum’s face.

I didn’t really have the energy to “dance, magic dance” with the others after that, so I hunted around for my belongings (eventually finding them trapped beneath someone’s red velvet cape) and trudged off back to mine.

It’s going off again! That chat group, arg. “Have a blessed Solstice!” Be prepared, Charlie, you’re getting screenshots.

I’m sorry I’ve rambled on at you for so long. It’s just…being added to this group has brought up some stuff for me I guess. I wanted so badly for these cool quirky girls to like me (and share the secrets of their awesome winged eyeliner). I didn’t mean for Studdy Buddy to get hit by a train. Although maybe she jumped. I heard she had “problems”, according to Callum. Which no doubt added to the mystique for him. It was punishment enough hearing him bring her up all the time, how she would’ve loved this restaurant we were eating in, or how this poet was her favourite, or how the bracelet I got him reminded him of a tattoo she had. Uh-huh. Just study buddies…right! But what is kinda weird is I lost my grandma, my aunt and my mother in the three years that followed. You know, you came with me to every funeral and thank you ALWAYS AND FOREVER for being there for me. I didn’t tell you at the time how I was thinking….it was maybe all my fault?

Whew, I’m glad that’s out of my system. The only other person I’ve told about this is my therapist, who implied I was using phoney witchcraft as an excuse not to accept the consequences of my actions (I mean, you know how badly I went off the rails after Callum finally got up the guts to dump me). I’ve screenshot her profile photo on the mental health team’s website and if I get ONE more wretched ‘blessing’ from this group I’m going to send it to them and ask them to do their worst. It’ll be funny, right?

Oh, here we go again! BING!

TTFN,

Christina xXx

June 25, 2021 15:13

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2 comments

Ingrid B.
21:20 Jun 27, 2021

I really liked this story, it was quite fun to read. Thanks for sharing!

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Karen Mc Dermott
14:26 Jun 28, 2021

It was fun to write, haha. Thanks for taking a look at it :)

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