Flying dishes

We were finishing up with dinner, my two brothers already off to play with some electronic device or other, when my mother began to speak: “There was this old show I used to love as a kid,” she said, “old-timey even for when I watched it, perhaps from the 50s… No, it wasn’t that old-timey. It was probably early 60s, you know, when women wore big hairdos and those dresses with the pointy tits. I believe the show’s name had something to do with Samantha, or maybe that was just the name of the main character…” I listened attentively, silent. “Anyway, it was about this girl who could do magic. She and her mother could, actually, they’d wiggle their noses like so,” she demonstrated, “and things would fly all around them and go where they wished them to. It was awesome. They’d make their coffee cups fly to their table on their own.” She smiled as she remembered this. ‘Actually, they only ever used their powers for stupid stuff like this, you know? They never like, saved humanity or anything. And the lady had this husband who’d come home from work with his suit and a big briefcase…” My mother continued her tirade while I realized she had inadvertently said something oddly poetic, the kind of thing that my brain, a writer’s brain stuck in a lazy teenage girl’s body, was bound to pick up on. I was suddenly certain that my mother, had she any kind of ability for magic, would use it neither to wreak havoc nor to promote peace, but merely to have her own coffee fly towards her at the table. That was probably one of the reasons I found it so hard to understand her. I sat in awe of this revelation for a few seconds. Then, I asked her: “So, what is the purpose of this story? Why were you reminded of this now?” “Well, because,” my mother said, “I’d love to wiggle my nose and have all these dishes wash themselves and fly right back into their cupboards!” She said this while laughing, but I don’t think it was the same kind of laugh as before. In front of us, on the table, a number of utensils, unusually large for a four-person meal, sat in mockery of the whole situation. I helped her carry a few of them but did not stay to watch her do the rest. She never let me help anyway, and when she did she always made me feel foolish and inadequate for not knowing some critical thing about the art of dish-washing. Thus, I was bound not to ever learn. So I retired to my room in order to write about flying dishes and continue to not understand my mother. If I had any ability for magic, there’s a whole bunch of stuff I would do.


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