If we had just listened to Grandma Gigi; stayed away from drafty windows, picked up lost pennies, even when they were showing tails, waited until midnight to open presents on Christmas Eve; if we had kept our combat boots (like we had kept our Mary Janes) off of the dining room table so luck stuck to our soles; if we remembered catching lightning bolts, not lightning bugs, in the Long Island house’s backyard; if I had never lost the family “G” ring and Lizzie hadn’t stopped swimming in skirts and Hartford hadn’t started to ignore Grandpa Gino’s ghost; if we all hadn’t laughed that one time for the first time, at Baby Enzo’s christening, when Second-Cousin Steffie took a ribbon off a centerpiece, wove it through her hair and said “listen, girls, I can see the future whenever I wear stuff on my head”; if we had worn more hats and hair bows, did like the Great Aunts said and hoarded locks of our bleached blonde hair for burning at the first off-beats of a broken heart; if we had kept wearing, kept rubbing our Italian horns, kept away the evil eye, kept away those evil boys, the ones Grandma Gigi told us to tell to go fuck themselves; if we told more boys to go fuck themselves, or if later, when we bottled up telling boys to go fuck themselves, we did it in Mason jars to be sold on Etsy for $10.99 alongside hunks of lavender soap; if our parents had listened to Grandma Gigi and played those numbers she found on a slip of paper next to Uncle Nicky’s grave; if they had passed along that recipe for mixing blood and dirt; if, after we too were parents, we too played those numbers or just-in-case threw handfuls of salt or at least drove to the meat store for meat and the bread store for bread and the tomato store for tomatoes solely because, we knew, like Gigi knew, that some things are truly special; if we had put back on our horns, I’m saying; if we had regained our nerve; if, the second the nights went dull and the mornings lost their lemon-yellow luster, we had dared to leave out a black-flame candle so some long-dormant spell could ignite.
Jeanine Skowronski is a writer based in N.J. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Reflex Press, Tiny Molecules, Complete Sentence, Lunate Fiction, Fewer than 500 and Dwelling Literary. You can follow her on Twitter @JeanineSko.
photo by Jay Heike (via unsplash)