“Lily is practicing witchcraft. Like spells and shit.”
“Marcus – language! Lily, what’s this about witchcraft?”
“You better watch out idiot. I’ll put a spell on you and you’ll lose your next soccer game.”
“Kids, that’s enough. Can we please just enjoy this delicious lasagna that I bought from the overpriced takeout place?”
“It’s perfect babe and so is the salad, bread and wine.”
Jen leaned across the table and touched Monica’s hand.
“How was school today?” Jen asked.
“Lame,” answered Lily.
“Not that bad actually,” Marcus said, stuffing a large piece of garlic bread into his mouth.
“Lily, why was school lame?” Monica asked
“Because our educational system is broken. It’s astounding that I even know how to spell and read.”
“Oh Lily, don’t be so dramatic. Your school is one of the best in the city.”
Monica took a long sip of wine and eyed her children. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes she wished she’d never had kids. Sometimes she wished that she and Jen had just become foster parents to cats and dogs. Sometimes having one pre-teen and one teenager was just too fucking much.
“Well I had a challenging day. This new show I’m on is going to be a beast. But I like the lead actor, he’s totally down to earth – Chris Evermore – do you kids know him?”
“OMG Chris Evermore? Mom, I have to come to set with you, he is the most beautiful actor ever!”
“He is pretty handsome, I mean if you like chiseled males with wavy hair, green eyes and sparkling smiles.”
“He’s my favorite vampire from that Netflix series and I love his British accent,” Jen said.
“When you’re doing a fitting with him you have to text me,” Lily pleaded.
“Absolutely not. My work is actual work, it’s not for instagram selfies with celebs.”
After dinner Lily went to her room where she finished her homework then texted her best friend Ryder:
“Working on tarot cards. Talk later. xo”
Ryder texted back a line of witch emojis.
Switching on her IKEA faux candle to create a vibe, (real candles were forbidden in their house due to her parents’ shared fear of fire), Lily waved a selenite crystal over her cards, her body and around the bedroom to cleanse the energy.
Taking a few deep breaths, she shuffled the tarot deck while focusing on the question she wanted to ask:
“Should I lose my virginity to Isaiah?”
She and Isaiah had been friends since they were eight years old, they were fifteen now. They weren’t dating, but they both wanted to lose their virginity.
“It’s like too much pressure to be a virgin, I need some experience under my belt. You think I’m cool, but like no other girls do,” Isaiah complained, as they smoked pot in his backyard a couple of weeks ago.
“That’s because our school is made up of 90% losers. I mean we’re supposed to be an uber progressive collegiate, but like we have a giant football team and cheerleaders straight out of a John Hughes movie. What the fuck?”
“Totally. But I mean so many guys like you, you could be dating if you wanted to.”
“Isaiah, I’m gonna stop you right there. As I was saying earlier 90% of our schoolmates are losers. Derek Jeffries wants to run the Republican Party and one day he probably will – which is terrifying. Jared Keto is a sleaze-bag wanna be poet who has fucked at least 20 girls – and those are only the girls that I know about. Imagine him reciting some atrocious poem and then me sleeping with him. Like NO. Then there’s Moses and even though everyone says he has a thing for me and even though he’s gorgeous – I totally get a gay vibe from him. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’m his cup of tea.”
“Well when you break it down like that I see your options are more limited than I thought.”
As they lay on the grass passing the joint between them, Lily came up with a plan:
“What about if we lose our virginity together? I mean we like each other. We respect each other. I think we could deal with any potential weirdness that might come up post sex. It’s just an idea and granted I am high as fuck right now, but give it some thought,” Lily suggested.
Over the last couple of weeks they had discussed the pros and cons of their secret sex plan, but always in person, they didn’t want to leave a text trail.
Lily dealt herself three tarot cards, lying them down side by side.
“Have you finished your homework?” asked Jen opening the door as she knocked.
“Hello, boundaries mom! First you knock, then you wait for me to answer before you barge in,” Lily said exasperated.
Jen stared at Lily, who was sitting cross-legged on a fake bear rug, wearing some kind of boho kimono with tarot cards in front of her.
“Oh My God, Marcus was right. You’re doing witchcraft. Lily be careful. Your great grandmother was a witch, well she was a secret witch because they were Catholic. But she created a lot of chaos with her witchery.”
Lily looked at her mom with utter disdain.
“Lily-Rose was a rock star. I would have loved to meet her. She didn’t create chaos – she killed off her horribly abusive husband, then she created a successful herbal beauty company and she had hot lovers right up until her death. That’s a good life if you ask me. Plus, I’m not a practicing Wiccan, at least not yet. I’m just working with tarot cards.”
“Fine. But no spells – ever.”
Jen went to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of wine.
“Lily is reading tarot cards.”
Monica looked up from her laptop:
“I rather she be reading tarot cards than making vacuous tik tok videos.”
“Good point,” Jen said.
After her mom’s rude intrusion Lily felt it necessary to re-cleanse the room’s energy, so she swished the selenite crystal around. Taking a slow deep breath, Lily turned over the three cards: they represented the past, present and future.
“Death” was her first card. Reading from the tarot card book she learned that death symbolized endings, freeing oneself and moving forward.
“Totally, this is totally what I’ve been feeling and wanting these last six months,” Lily thought.
The second card, “The Fool,” represented an exciting new adventure which might require taking a blind leap of faith, resulting in great emotional growth.
“LOL” Lily said out loud, throwing her head back and smiling.
“Knight of Cups,” was the final card, the future card. It represented overwhelming love energy. Like get ready to be swept away into a six part Netflix series about a Wiccan high schooler and her theatre club nerd crush.
“Wow. Well that’s maybe a little bit too much love energy. Does that mean I might fall in love with Isaiah? Or him with me? Cause that would be a problem. But still, I think in this context Knight of Cups is a good omen. It points to positive feelings,” Lily proclaimed, as if she was doing a tarot card reading for a client.
“Who are you talking to? A spirit?” asked Marcus who was leaning at her open doorway eating a pop tart.
“Oh my fucking God, does no one in this family knock? Get out Marcus, I’m busy.”
“Busy being a witch. Are you going to start dressing all Goth now?” he asked with his mouth full.
From under her bed Lily retrieved one of her floral Doc Martens and threw it at him.
“Lily just committed an act of violence against me,” he yelled as he left her doorway.
“For the love of God kids, cut it out!” screamed Monica.
Lily went through her cards again, reading more about their symbolism and about how best to interpret a three card spread.
“Ok. So that’s it. Isaiah and I are doing this,” she said lying down on the cozy rug.
“Thank you Goddess for guiding me in the right direction. Please don’t let our friendship get messed up. We’re simply helping each other out.”
“Why are you lying on the floor? Do you feel okay?” Monica asked from the door which had been left partly open by Marcus.
“Mom – boundaries!”
“Your door was open.”
“That’s because your idiot son just opened it without knocking. It’s like no one in this house – except me – actually respects boundaries. It’s not fair.”
“Okay sorry love, you’re totally right. So, what did you learn from your tarot reading?”
“I was guided in a positive direction,” Lily said vaguely, knowing it would irritate her.
“Well, I guess that’s a good thing. Let me kiss your beautiful face – I’m going to bed early.”
Monica bent down and kissed Lily’s soft cheek:
“You are a fucking Goddess and don’t you ever forget it.”
“Night mom,” Lily said.
“Night my love.”
Lily texted Ryder:
“Exhausted. Love u. See u manana.”
Ryder texted back:
Later in bed, Lily remembered the sex advice her Aunt Jess had given her last year:
“Your vulva should be happy. It should be wet and delighted, otherwise don’t let the penis inside. And make sure your lover spends time on your clitoris, help him figure it out if necessary. Most men are clueless and most teenage boys are even more clueless because they’ve grown up addicted to porn.”
Lily appreciated her Aunt’s advice, she was never shy talking about sex stuff. For Lily’s fifteenth birthday she had given her a pink vibrator with bunny ears.
They had celebrated her birthday at Gjelina’s on Abbott Kinney Blvd. Lily had taken the present out of its sparkly decorative gift bag, not knowing that she would be flashing everyone – the waiter, the bus person and the table of six sitting next to them – a vibrator called Pink Lady. Monica was mortified, Jen couldn’t stop laughing, Aunt Jess had no idea what all the fuss was about and Marcus posted a photo of it to Instagram.
Lily’s mind was dancing with wet vagina sugar plum fairies and erect penises, making it hard to sleep. She envisioned intercourse as kind of a weird modern art sculpture – two bodies entwined as one for a moment in time. It seemed both creepy and spectacular.
Artwork by Henri Matisse, “The Entwined Lovers,” 1948.