The Spell

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 15, 2019

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Submitted: July 15, 2019

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The Spell

 
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." —Leo Tolstoy from Anna Karenina
 
During the hot summer, I used to go to the town library where there was a good air condition running and spent most of my day inside till I had to leave. 
 
One Saturday morning, I stood in front of a pile of bookshelves and started to read the first page of Tolstoy’s that I randomly picked. Its first line got my interest in finding out how unhappy another’s family could be. When I was about to flip to the last page to find out the outcome of Anna, a deep voice cracked up behind me, “How old are you? I don’t think you should be reading that book. Girl. Check this book out instead, it is a well-known fairytale. I don’t remember you ever dead it. Did you?” The town librarian Freddie eyed me with frowns and then a smile. He handed me a book with a blond long hair girl in pink dress printed on its cover. 
 
“I am thirteen, Ok? Old enough to be your cat’s Grandma! I don’t read this kind of stuff! Don’t you know, Freddie, there is no such thing called fairytale in the world? Fairytale is a lie, the biggest lie in the whole universe!” I snapped at him, as if I was his old cranky wife. 
 
“That is not true! Girl.”
 
“I don’t care. I am not going to spend my time to read and cry out of envy for what I don’t have!”  
 
I stormed out of the the library with Anna in my arm. Tears were whirling inside my eyes. I ran home. Letting the tear drops flying behind me. 
 
When I came home, I locked myself up in my bedroom and hided in the wardrobe where there was no single cloth inside but a cozy nest I made for myself whenever I felt like to disappear from the world. I read the book inside the nest till next dawn. With the sunshine leaking through the gap of wardrobe, I realized I was still alive. I did not know how I broke the spell that was cast upon me when I was born, but I was very happy to know that words could be just a lie. I sang myself the song of Happy Birthday. No cake, no gift, no party, alone, as usual. 
 
That day was my thirteenth Birthday. An age of going into a young adulthood and an age of saying Goodbye to the mystic number that had been haunting me all my life. I was glad that I had lived through another “thirteen” without jumping off the train and killed myself like Anna did before the spell was broken or was proven to be just a shadow or a lie. 
 
As you could have imagined that my childhood was not a fairytale, but I refused to make it a tragedy either. I tried to live my way out and wished one day I could write my own life without too much horrors or sorrows in it and turn it into a comedy. After I lived through my thirteen Birthday, I looked at the beaming sunshine, and I gave myself a Birthday wish: 
 
I wanna break every spell and write my own fairytale.
 
 
I was an orphan before I was born. I was not meant to live, but I did. 
 
Because of that I was "forecast" that I would die on my thirteenth birthday and each thirteenth year after that should I escape my density. 
 
Yes, my family was not a happy family. They said it was all because of my birth. 
 
Among all other siblings and cousins, I was the thirteenth children born into my big Asian family. It was not a lucky number in my religiously superstitious family circle. Being an orphan before I was born seemed to convince them that I was possibly an offspring of the Devil. 
 
I was given a nick name called "Yama" when I was little. I thought it was the sound one made when riding a horse, but I found, much later, that it was actually the name of the Hindu god of death and underworld, when I was trying to write a school essay about the origin and the credibility of Eastern folk tales. From it I think I found mine too.
 
I was told that my Dad was killed at his job as a lifeguard when I was a five months old fetus. He saved the boy who was drowned by the waves, but he did not save himself. 
 
And my Mom died ten minutes before I was taken out of her womb due to hard labor. My legs were stuck in her vagina, my face was plastered by the mucous membrane of crashing uterus. Her body was cut opened without anesthetics. So I could be pulled out of the her dammed hole. I was not meant to live but I did. And I was Yama.  
 
I cried like a siren of the fire engine. They said I was wailing for her death or the sad life I was going to have. But actually I was demanding like a baby usually would do when he or she was hungry. Hard labor exhausted not only the mother, the medical personnel, but the baby also. It was not an easy task to try to get my big body to break through a small tunnel for liberty, With that I had to admit I did not do a very good job on. And I was really sorry for that.
 
What my family was going to do with me? Sympathize me? Not a chance. In my family one had to be strong in order to live. Before I grew my teeth, my loud wailing sound was my weapon. Whenever I wailed, policemen would come, due to a neighbor reported it as “noise pollution”, and my wants would be satisfied too. After I had my teeth grown, they became my best weapon. I bit and tore anyone who I felt intruded into my space. I was happy that I was not a wolf, as with my compulsion to bite would likely have made me kill or injure at least ten people in my life by the age of two...
 
As life went on, very often I wondered if I ever wore any smile on my face at all. Due to that, I hardly looked at the mirror in case I scared myself to death. 
 
But whenever I did look at mirror, I felt I could see my Mom. She had smile on her face, not a big charming smile, but a faint smile with eyes dewed with joy. I did not know where this image was from but I rather enjoyed it. Whenever I felt like I needed some smile I would go and look at a mirror. I looked for her smile and and I forced myself to smile too. 
 
Last week, I looked at mirror more often, as I needed it. My smiles were going away with recurring headaches and with fears. As my second thirteenth birthday was coming. Another spell was looming. I did not know how I broke the last spell, I thought reading might be the way, so I read till dawn. I was afraid I would miss next day’s sunrise for good if I fell asleep.  
 
“Chickadee. Are you still awake? Could you please turn off the computer, you are not going to die Ok?” My husband was toasting in bed feeling annoyed with the screen light.
 
I turned off the computer as requested. I lied in bed and a picture of my mom soon appeared. And I suddenly remembered where the image of her smile came from now. 
 
After my birth, I was taken to my Mom who asked to see me. I was put in her chest and lying with her. I felt her heartbeat, weak but still there pumping. And I saw that faint smile with her eyes dewed with joy and perhap pain. I smiled too. I knew she was my Mom. 
 
It was not true that I was an orphan before I was born! 
 
I at least had my Mom for thirty-three seconds before she was taken away from me.    
 
I cried quietly and long till dawn. I knew I had broken another spell. 
 
Yesterday was my second thirteenth-year Birthday. And I am still alive. Now I am officially twenty-seven. 
 
I know I have no need to be in fear again about the spell. As I had broken it twice and I am sure I will break another and every of them when time comes. 
 
I used to ask myself how much pain, mentally or physically, can wipe smile off one’s face. I have my answer now. My Mom never gave up her smile even when she was at the end of her life. I think this was the message she wanted to give me.  
 
I was a child without childhood. My early life was either torn off, never written or even dreamed of. I did not read nor did I believe in fairytales. 
 
Now I would like to do the opposite and determine to write my own fairytale too. A hope, a tale, or a comedy belongs to the ones who dare to dream.
 


© Copyright 2019 Derina Penn. All rights reserved.

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