A Surprising Normal
I can see them rising on the horizon. They still stand proud against the sky. I can feel them calling to me along the breeze. Most people see these oak trees as something stately and powerful. I see them as something ominous and foreboding. These trees can somehow reach into me. They know my fears, my weaknesses, and my sadness. Why we come here every year, I’m not sure.
Reluctantly I head up to my room. It actually belonged to one of my ancestors, Lillian. Dropping my bag on the bed, I move towards the window.
“Brigid! There you are!” Appearing in my doorway, my mother sounds exasperated. “I’ve been looking for you. There is something I need to give you.”
“What? Can’t it wait until tonight?”
“Your eighteenth birthday is a big deal and I think this is something you need now.”
In her outstretched hand I see a golden shimmer coming from an old pocket watch. “Mom, why would I want a pocket watch? I already have a regular watch, see?”
“This watch is different. It belonged to your ancestor Lillian. We feel it’s time you have it – no pun intended.”
“All of us; me, your aunt Sarah, your grandma, basically the women of our family.”
I glance over at the portrait of Lillian that’s on the wall. It’s a weird painting because she isn’t even facing the painter. Instead, she is turned around, seemingly arranging pink roses. If I look closely I can faintly see a thin chain around her neck.
“Fine. Thanks.” I put the watch on the desk.
“No, Brigid. You need to wear it. I know it would make everyone happy to see it on you. I think you remind the older family members of Lillian. She was quiet, but full of an undeniable energy, just as you seem to be.”
My eyes automatically roll, “Whatever. I’ll put it on when I go back downstairs.”
That seemed to satisfy her and she heads downstairs. Picking up the watch, I sit down on the window seat to get a better look. It’s pretty enough, golden sheen, but not sparkly. The front has an oak tree engraved onto it – the Tree of Life. It looks just like the ones that line the drive. With a soft click, the cover opens up to reveal a tiger’s eye colored clock. “Whoa. That’s beautiful!” I rub my thumb over the smooth face, close it back up, and slip the chain over my head.
“It suits you,” a quiet voice travels to me from across the room.
I jerk around, heart pounding out of my chest. What was that?
“Don’t worry, it’s normal to panic when this first happens. I know I did.”
My eyes shoot over to the painting of Lillian. There is a shimmer coming from it. I try to get up but my body seems frozen. Taking a deep breath to calm myself, I look closer. It’s not just a random shape, it – no, it can’t be…
“Lillian?” I whisper.
Slowly, she turns more solid, and I can see she is smiling at me.
“Nice to meet you, Brigid. I’m glad you are here. My necklace looks beautiful on you. I knew leaving it for you was the right thing to do.”
“Wh- What are you talking about?” I stutter.
“I had a vision of you. You were standing in front of me, power radiating off of you, and that necklace was in your hand. That was how I knew to leave the watch to you. I’m just glad that I am able to finally meet you.” Lillian’s smile grew.
“You saw me? How is that possible? I wasn’t alive when you were. Not even close. I’ve got to be dreaming,” vigorously shaking my head.
“No, you weren’t alive. My power was having visions of the future.” Lillian said wistfully.
“Your ‘power’? What are you talking about?” This was getting stranger by the second.
“Every female in our family has a power, given to us by the oak trees. That’s why we meet here every summer. This is the week, designated long ago, in which we celebrate our blessed gifts. It’s great fun. I always enjoyed it.”
“Ooo-kay, why have I never heard or seen any of this before? I’ve been here each summer. This has got to be a joke. And every female has a power? Whatever.” Jumping from my seat, I cross the room, anger rising in me.
“Brigid, we keep our powers quiet around others. Your mother is a healer. And as for your powers,” Lillian chuckles, “you have an abundance of power within you. You just don’t know it.”
“This is ridiculous!” I stalk out of the room and head to our family library. Finding the book I want, I gently set it on the desk. Turning pages carefully, I find our family tree. I’ve looked at this a dozen times, but this time, I notice that each woman in our family has a symbol next to it. My mother’s is a bouquet of herbs. Closing the book, I rest my hands on the cover and sigh. Almost immediately, they begin to glow. Alarmed, I run out of the house. An old tree shelters my favorite spot and my body sinks to the ground.
Why me? I don’t want to be different! I can’t have powers! What am I going to do? I just want to be normal! Overwhelming sadness fills me and despite my best efforts, I feel the tears streaming down my cheeks.
Evening falls around me and I hear the women of our family coming out to find me. At least they gave me some time to myself.
“Brigid? I know this is a lot. Lillian came and filled us in. Are you okay?” My aunt crouches down concern in her voice.
“I just don’t get it. I don’t know what to do.” Doubt still filling me.
“We are special. We come from a long line of powerful women. You are filled with amazing energy. Denying it won’t work. I tried, and I ended up very depressed. Once I accepted it all, my life began to feel complete. Trust me.”
I walk to the river’s edge. My hands start to have that warm glow again. The feeling of comforting energy starts to climb up my arms. It’s an amazing feeling. I don’t want this to go away. I let the power overtake me.
Almost immediately, my body is consumed in flames. Bright, rich fire surrounds me. Unafraid, I raise my arms and let the fire glow. Behind me I hear a whisper, “A fire witch! Her power is stronger than all of ours.”
I turn to face the women in my family. Still encased in flame, I make my decision. With a smile on my lips I declare, “I can deal with not being normal.”
necklace idea- what she will receive – color would be fire colors