A Writer’s Book of Days — 2 December 2016

It was her mother’s recipe

It was her mother’s recipe. That old witches’ brew.

A concoction for stirring up trouble.

And for curing a season of blues.

She spent all day and most of the night adding to the concoction. A pinch of parsley and a sliver of lime. The foot of a rabbit to make it sublime.

She didn’t know what it would do. That old witches’ brew. But it was her mother’s recipe, so she didn’t think it through.

When the water came to a boil, and she tossed the ingredients in, she felt an adulation as she watched the brewing begin.

The scents sent shivers running up and down her spine.

A little bit of pleasure and a whole lot of fear.

The pops and the gurgles told her the recipe was true. That old witches’ brew to cure a season of the blues.

When morning came and the brew was done. She carried it out of her kitchen and looked forward to the fun.

She poured out the kettle all over her front lawn and waited and waited all throughout the dawn.

As she waited for her concoction to facilitate its charm, she was greeted by the mailman at the start of his long walk.

“Good morning,” he called from the sidewalk on her lawn, as he slipped her single letter into its empty home.

“Hello,” she said in her quiet voice, not meaning to be heard.

But then he asked “How are you?” As he stood upon the curb.

At first she didn’t know what to say, so unexpected were his words. Then she settled on the truth, another lesson her mother had her learn.

“I’m waiting for my witches’ brew to cure a season of blues.”

The mailman smiled, clearly amused, before he waved goodbye to her and continued on his route.

It’s not my fault it takes so long, she thought to herself as he left. Maybe if mother had put a timer on the recipe, I could wait inside instead.

But she didn’t want to miss the moment her concoction took its form. So she waited and she waited outside on her porch.

As the morning passed to noon, a jogger passed her by.

“Hello,” she said.

“How’s it going?” said the jogger, who was gone without reply.

Well that was rude, she thought at one. What if I had something to say?

Obviously she preferred the quiet, but that was still no reason not to stay.

She fumed and fussed and fretted over the jogger’s rudeness until she saw the jogger passing on the other side of the street. At first she rose to speak her mind, but then paused at the thought of missing her concoction’s completion.

I can’t be gone when the brew is complete. Otherwise I’ll still be stuck in this season of blues. Better to wait and have words with that jogger once I’ve got my cure.

So she waited and she waited, held captive by the timing of her brew.

As the noon passed to evening, the children came home from school.

They laughed and they screeched and they shouted and they raced up and down the sidewalks, making their ways home.

One curious child with a backpack entirely too big for him stopped at the end of her driveway and stared at her, waiting on her stoop.

“What are you waiting for?” Said the little boy with the big backpack.

“I’m waiting for my witches’ brew to cure a season of blues.”

“There’s no such thing as witches.”

“How do you know?”

“Are you a witch?”

She frowned at him, the question ridiculous. “Of course I’m not a witch.”

“Then how did you make a witches’ brew?”

“From my mother’s recipe.”

“Was she a witch?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Then where did she get the recipe?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then how do you know it’s a witches’ brew?”

“Because it said so, and I need a brew to cure myself of my season of blues.”

The little boy with the big backpack waddled up to where she sat on her porch. He reached his arms around her neck and pulled her close like only children do.

“I don’t need you to coddle me,” she said as he held on tight. But her words were lost behind her sobs as she wrapped her arms around the little boy.

Big backpack and all.

Maybe her witches’ brew couldn’t cure her season of blues.

Maybe her mother’s recipe couldn’t make her sadness end.

But maybe all she needed, was to find herself a friend.


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