Since the day I was born I was different. I grew up different; I’ve always been different. You’d think by now I’d be used to it, but I’m not. It just makes me more self-conscious than a teenage girl needs to be.
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Oh, by the way, I’m Tab. Tabitha Stevens. My mom’s a witch.
Okay, don’t flip – I know what you’re thinking. It’s either ‘AAH, KILL THE EVIL SPAWN OF EVIL’ or ‘whoa man, this chick’s crazy.’ And for the longest time I thought I was.
Growing up, everything was weird. Things would suddenly appear when my mom wanted them to (or disappear, to my dismay), and so were members of my family, like my Grandma or my Uncle.
I always thought this was normal until, well until I realized it wasn’t. On the second day of Kindergarten, I got invited to Alicia Kessler’s sixth birthday. Her mom was angry because the house was a mess, and I asked her why she didn’t just clean it, like my mom did.
She drove me home. And I learned two lessons. One; don’t be rude. Second: my family must be weird. I mean, can you name any other mom that can clean an entire house in seconds just by snapping her fingers? I didn’t think so.
And my mom would always have these weird nose twitches. It drove my dad nuts. Oh, by the way my dad’s not a witch. Or a warlock… or whatever. He’s normal, like he should be. His name’s Darrin. My grandma always gets his name wrong, and she’s known him for like twenty years. I don’t think she likes him very much.
She’s a witch too.
Okay so let me straighten this out for you; my mom Samantha is a witch and my dad isn’t. My grandparents on my mom’s side are and my dad’s parents aren’t (naturally). Oh, and my Uncle Arthur is a witch too; he’s my mom’s brother.
And where does that leave me? Well, I’m an only child, and I’m (thank God) as normal as I could be with a family like mine. In other words, I’m a person. A mortal. Someone who can’t make a pot roast by pointing at the oven and wiggling her nose (or by actually cooking it either). I’m a teenager.
So this is where my diary starts, with my biggest secret down on paper, my entire life story that could ruin my whole family. But it’s safe, in my diary. Secret. And it feels good to let it all out.
That was the diary entry that almost ruined my life. But I really have to start from the beginning so you can understand. Back to the day I had written that. October thirteenth – my sixteenth birthday.
It all started pretty normal; I woke up, brushed my teeth, dealt with the cat and went back up to my room to get dressed. I was halfway through zipping up my jeans when all of a sudden Uncle Arthur appeared.
“AAAHHH! Arthur, get outta my ROOM!” I screamed bloody Mary; it’s a wonder my mom didn’t come running up with her broom.
“AAAHHH! Tab what are you DOING?” Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t think a forty-year-old man can scream like a girl you are wrong.
“I’m getting ready for school! Get out, get out, GET OUT!” I threw my pillow at him, hoping to steer him in another direction (like out the door maybe), but he threw it right back, because he thought it was a game.
“MOM! Can you get Uncle Arthur out of my room PLEASE!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. All at once, Arthur was gone and the pillow that had been flying towards my face at full speed was now dead on the floor. Ahh, peace, I thought. Satisfied, I changed my shirt and ran downstairs to make myself breakfast.
As I got downstairs I saw mom standing beside the cauldron.
I’m just kidding! She was looking through the fridge.
“’Morning mom,” I said, looking around for cereal.
“You don’t have to make yourself breakfast hun, I’ve already made you breakfast,” She said, pointing to the table. I looked over to see a plate of cheese omelet and toast with fresh strawberries waiting for me. It hadn’t been there a minute before.
“Mom will you please STOP ‘making’ me breakfast? I’d like my life to be as normal as possible. Please,” I said sighing.
“Tabby dear I don’t know why you insist on turning your back to your heritage. This is your life so why don’t you just embrace it?”
“Because I don’t WANT to!” I yelled, exasperated. She just didn’t understand. I grabbed a nutri-bar and stormed out the door with my backpack, too mad to eat the breakfast she had so kindly snapped up.
It took me fifteen minutes to get to school instead of the regular five it takes dad to drive me, and I got to my first class just as the bell rang. Mr. Ames told us to take out our textbooks and take notes. Sweet.
I reached into my bag to grab my book and my pen, when I felt something extra. I looked down to make sure it wasn’t anything... witchy. And it wasn’t. It was just a regular notebook, with the inscription The Diary Of Tabitha Stevens on the front. In spite of myself I smiled; mom sure knew how to put a nice birthday present together. And she did, it was gorgeous. Real worn, dark brown leather, with gold embroidered letters on the front, and delicate stitching held the paper together. And it smelled just like musky cologne, faint with age. There were probably four hundred pages of blank parchment in that notebook, waiting for me to christen it with my own writing. I loved it. I carefully put it back in my bag, grabbed my pen and started taking notes in my binder.
At lunch that day I couldn’t wait to get my diary out and write in it. I even asked the librarian for an old quill pen and some ink so I could really do it properly. I wanted it to look professional, well put together.
Mrs. Tisnatti gave me the pen and ink and I went and sat down in a quiet corner of the library to write. And I wrote and wrote until my hands were tired and I had almost filled three pages of the book. I was satisfied that my first entry was sufficient, and so I closed to book that now contained my deepest secret - my family was not normal.
The bell rang and I grabbed my bag, gave the pen and ink back to Mrs. Tisnatti, and ran off to my next class… I was going to be late.
In socials that day, Mrs. Sutherland gave us a free block to talk or do or just think about anything we wanted, as long as it was school related. Yeah, okay Mrs. Sutherland. Whatever.
I found myself sitting between my best friend Danica and Corey Cowan, the cutest basketball forward in school and my personal preference when it came to boys. I wanted to melt. No Tab, be cool. Be mature. Read or something. Write in your journal. Be cool.
I smiled coyly at him as I pulled my journal from my backpack, trying to look cool and sophisticated - until I banged my elbow on the desk and practically doubled over in agony. I don’t know why they call it a funny bone – it’s not very funny! Anyways, I pulled myself together, set the diary down and began to write.
“Hey, that book’s really nice!” I looked up. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! He just talked to me… that was to me, right? Oh my God he is so fine.
“Haheeh..berunsha dab,” I managed.
“Berunsha dab?” he looked bewildered. I smiled, but it couldn’t have been very convincing - my cheeks were frozen and I could feel my heart drop into my stom-ach. I wanted to die. But instead I turned back to my diary and started writing. I figured ignoring him was better than looking like an idiot – in which case I had managed to cover both bases successfully.
I can’t tell you exactly what I wrote in that last thirty-five minutes of class, but I can tell you that Corey smelled just like mint and wood bark, he was wearing more hair gel than usual and he had just washed his shirt that morning. I have a pretty good sense of smell. And intuition. Usually.
The bell rang and I raced out of class as fast as I possibly could. The only way to avoid Corey was to run home and stay there forever. When I got home, the smell of roast beef and gravy with extra garlic tickled my nose from the other side of the front door.
“No potatoes for me tonight, mom,” I called as I entered the door and took off my shoes.
“Not bad for a witch in training.”
I stopped dead in my tracks, shoe half-off and everything.
“What did you say?” I called to her. She couldn’t have said what I thought she had said. She just couldn’t have.
“Come in the kitchen dear, your father and I want to have a word with you.”
I walked so, so slowly. I didn’t need this to come any sooner than it needed to. For the longest time I had questioned… I didn’t think it could’ve been true though. But as I entered the kitchen I knew. By the look on my mom’s face I knew. From knowing what anything was from over a hundred feet away just by smelling it I knew.
I was a witch.
I bolted up the stairs. Screw dinner, screw my whole family - I didn’t need them. All I needed now was my journal. I threw my bag down and rifled through it to look for my journal. I threw everything out, but it wasn’t there. And then I realized; I left it in Socials class. I could’ve cried.
“Hunny? Can I come in please?” there was a knock on my door.
“No! Go away!” I yelled. Tears were already pouring out of my eyes. I couldn’t help it, I was everything I had always not wanted to become. I was my mother, I was my grandma, I was a freak and no one would ever understand.
My mom walked in anyway.
“Hunny, you’re not a freak. You’re a part of this family and you are what you are supposed to be. Be proud, not ashamed. You have abilities other people could only dream of. And they’ll get sharper too, just watch.”
“Mom! Get out of my head! I hate it when you do that, just leave me alone. And just for the record, I don’t think my ability to smell can get any sharper than it already is… I’m like a freakin’ raccoon or something!” I collapsed onto my bed and buried my head into my pillow.
“Oh hunny, you’re not a raccoon, you’re a witch. And think about it, you can help people, you can fix honest mistakes, you can have almost anything you want. It’s amazing, really.”
I hate it when you try to sell stuff to me. I told her without speaking.
“I’m only trying to convince you because it’s true. And anyway, I don’t have to make you like it, it’s just the way you are and you’re going to have to deal with it.” She started to walk out the door.
“Will I be able to read minds too?” I called before she was gone.
“With time Tab, with time.”
I threw a pillow at her as she closed the door and walked downstairs.
What am I going to do? I need to get that diary back ASAP. Whatever it takes. And mom can never find out.
The next day at school, I got the weirdest looks from Cassie (cheer squad captain and Miss Popularity at my school). I felt naked. I knew she had read the diary just by looking at her face. And I got the same looks from other kids in my school. Had they all read my journal? Was my secret exposed? What am I supposed to do?
“Uhh, Tab,” I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Oh, hey Danica. What’s up?” I smiled when I saw her, in spite of myself.
“Um. You’ve got you’re skirt on inside out.”
I froze. I looked down. I wanted to scream. So the looks weren’t for reading my diary, but still. One more thing going wrong will seriously blow my lid. I dropped my books and ran down three different hallways to get to the girls’ bathroom. It was the longest run of my life. As soon as I got there I just locked myself into a stall, sat down in the corner, and cried.
“Tab? Tabitha? Hun?” I could see Danica’s feet walking past my stall, looking for any sign of me. I got quiet.
“I know you’re in here, Tab,” she said. I gave in and got up, pushed the door open, and looked her right in the eye.
“I’m a witch,” I said. If anyone was going to help me it was Danica. She was almost always there for me.
“Aww, hun no you’re not a witch, you’re sweet and nice and smart and f…”
“No, Danica, I’m a witch. My mom is a witch. Uncle Arthur is a witch. I’m a witch!” She looked at me like I had just kissed a broom or something.
“Danica, don’t look at me like that. You’re scaring me,” I shuddered.
“I’m scaring you? I’m scaring you? That’s pretty funny Tab, ‘cause I just found out my best friend since like, forever years is a freakin’ witch! Wanna know how I’m feeling right now?” she took one last look at me and ran out of the bathroom. In that moment I felt more alone than I’d ever felt in my entire life.
I fixed my skirt, wiped my eyes, and walked out of that bathroom with the determination to keep my head up and be strong. I wasn’t going to let a stupid secret come between Danica and I or ruin my entire family’s reputation.
What was I saying? My life, as I know it, is over.
I walked into science late, but Mr. Long didn’t seem to notice. I sat down at the back. All of a sudden Corey turned around and looked me right in the eye. My face flushed within point one seconds and the butterflies in my stomach stopped dead in their tracks. His eyes were so intense.
“You dropped this in Socials yesterday,” he said, placing my diary on my desk. I looked at his face for any sign that he had read it, but all I saw was question and expectation. But before I could say anything he just turned back around and faced the front.
“Oh, by the way,” he said, “Great story.”
I could hardly breathe.
“Yeah, you know, in your book. It’s pretty good. You should be an author.” He smiled and turned around again, and it was all I could do not to faint right then and there.
I got out of class, wondering what to do next, when Cassie walked up to me right out of the blue.
“So, I here you’re a witch.”
I couldn’t breathe. No, I mean I really couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating. All of this was just too much for me. Next thing I knew, Cassie screamed and I fell to the floor.
I woke up in the nurse’s office, alone and shivering. The door opened and in walked Corey, carrying a glass of water and a chocolate bar. At first I thought I as dreaming.
“Hey you. I thought you might be thirsty or something,” He said, handing me the chocolate bar and water. I didn’t take the chocolate bar.
“So, um, Cassie told me Danica told her what you told Danica,” he laughed. “I just confused myself there.” In spite of myself I let out a giggle.
“She does laugh!” he said, smiling at me. I blushed. Oh my God, is Corey Cowan actually flirting with me?
“Well in any case, Cassie didn’t believe Danica. She was just teasing you. And yeah, you could call it flirting… I guess,” he said. I looked up, surprised. It was like he read my mind. Wait, I think he did read my mind.
“That notebook… it wasn’t a story was it?” He asked me, and I shook my head. “And you’re mom’s really a witch?” I nodded, slowly.
“Well, it’s not… it’s not just my mom. I’m a witch too,” I said. I had to turn away; I didn’t want to see the look on his face.
“But the diary said you weren’t…”
“I know. It was a bit of a news flash to me too,” I replied. He smiled. “What were you doing reading my diary anyway? That’s really private you know!” I suddenly digested this realization that he had totally, totally read something he shouldn’t have.
“It looked like a book, but like, really authentic. I didn’t do it to ruin your privacy, I swear. Then when I saw the writing, it looked even more like a book and I started reading and then I realized (too late) that it wasn’t. I’m sorry Tab, I shouldn’t have invaded your privacy like that.” He looked so guilty. I felt bad. What can I say, he was hot.
“Can you like, read minds or something? And how do you know my name? I mean, I know we sit beside each other in like all of our classes, but you like, never notice me,” I said.
“I read your diary; I think I’d know you’re name,” he said. I blushed. Obvious much, smooth one Tab. “And also, I have noticed you. I notice you every day. I try and start conversations but you either ignore me or insult me in another language.”
“That would be my brain getting words mixed up, not insults.” Oh God, you are so cute.
You’re pretty cute yourself, Tab.” I stared at him. He looked at me, his eyes spark-ling.
“Are… are you…”
“Yes, I am,” he said, stopping me mid-sentence.
“You don’t even know what I was going to say!” I replied, challenging him.
“Just call me a mind-reader.” He winked at me. And then I knew. Like I always know. I knew because he always seemed to know when and what I was thinking about him. I knew because he was the one that appeared with a chocolate bar.
Corey Cowan is a witch!
“It took you a while, didn’t it,” He said, leaning in. I held my breath, I closed my eyes, and I prayed. I felt his lips touch mine and I almost passed out again. It was like magic.
The next day, Danica came up to me and apologized for telling Cassie. She said she had just been ‘really freaked out’ and didn’t know what to do. I accepted it on the condition she learned to live with me as I am from now on.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, babe,” She said. I just smiled.
Corey and I became a couple, and I actually didn’t mind being a witch (in-training). Especially not since Corey told me his secret - that he was one too. I felt kind of normal, actually. He had saved me from insanity, and the embarrassment of the entire school knowing. And from going through the hardest time in my life alone. He was my hero.
And Uncle Arthur, well he still appears in my room by accident sometimes, but snapping my fingers is so much easier than throwing a pillow at him.