She wants to be a witch: the kind of witch that rides on
broomsticks and has green hair and a pointy black hat; the
kind that has a cat she can talk to and the cat talks back.
She wants to make potions out of dead lizards and boys'
She wants to be a wicked girl and laugh whenever she pleases
and never wear underwear on hot summer days. She doesn't
want to kiss boys at recess or do what her mother says.
If she's wicked, she won't have to make her bed or eat her
Her mother wants a good daughter: the kind that finds her
own path; the kind that doesn't have to make all the same
mistakes she made. She wants her to get it right the first
She wants a daughter that doesn't have to wear gloves and
a hat to church on Sundays. She doesn't want her to serve
her brothers first and herself last. She doesn't want her
daughter to marry the first man she meets and sit before
a minister, a guru, or a shaman. And she certainly doesn't
want her to do what he says.
She tells her mother, "I want to be a witch"
and thinks she doesn't need to say the rest out loud. Her
mother will know what she means.
She says 'witch', and she means 'witch'. She means midnight
rambles through the woods, nothing but a lantern and the
glow of her cat's eyes to guide her. She will cackle instead
of laugh. She will wear a swirling black cape - black as
pitch - and pointy shoes with a brass buckle she will shine
with her spit and the hem of her ruby velvet dress. She
will call her minions 'my beauties'. 'Minions' is a new
word for her, and if it means what she thinks it does, she
wants lots of them.
She doesn't explain 'witch' to her mother. What else could
Her mother hears 'witch', and she thinks 'Wiccan'. She
sees herself as a child, sitting in church, meek and mild,
and thinks, Insert 'goddess' here. She sees a church - full
of women - but a church nonetheless. She thinks of the ritual
and mystery and magic that is religion and thinks it is
all the same. She hears 'witch', thinks 'religion' and doesn't
want a religious daughter.
She needs to negotiate and so thinks fast. She will meet
her daughter halfway. "I'm sorry, you can't be witch.
You can be a lesbian," she offers. "But you can't
be a witch. It would break my heart."
A lesbian, she thinks. What's a lesbian? Do lesbians wear
pointy hats? Do lesbians make potions and fly on broomsticks?
Do lesbians like cats? Who wants to be a lesbian?
She wants to be wicked. She wants to be a witch. Her heart
is accepting applicants for the position of minion.