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My Gran claimed to be a witch, a white witch.
It's true she knew a lot about herbs and such and had a reputation as a midwife and healer, but I never did see her do anything I'd call magic. Gran told me I was wearing blinders, that magic was all around us, did we have the sense to see and the courage to make it ours. Seemed to me a ridiculous thing to claim, it was the twentieth century now, and so I told her.
She just smiled and said blood would tell, all the science in the world couldn't hide what was in the blood.
"Alana tries to deny it, actually she's doing a pretty good job of it," Gran admitted. "If you want to be like your mama, all brittle and unhappy, you can deny it too. I'm hoping you'll have more sense, Mari. It's not a bad thing, it can be a good thing. It puts more color in the world. It'll let you hear the music of the stars, the moon'll whisper secrets in your ear. There's a completeness when you accept your birthright, a satisfaction deep inside, even if your life is giving you pain."
I remembered this conversation as I went through Gran's house, methodically packing up her personal belongings. Her magic hadn't saved her from the cancer, but when I'd railed at her, begged her to use it – to save herself – she'd only shaken her head, giving me the sorrowful smile she saved for my more stupid statements.
"It don't work that way, child, you should know that by now. You read too many books, the magic can't work miracles, no matter what the popular culture says."
"What good is it then," I asked bitterly.
"Oh, it has its uses. We've talked of this before. Darlin' girl, you have to accept we all live finite lives and the ways of dying are too many to count. It's my time; I accept that, I'm content. My life has been full and mostly good. My only regret is you, darlin'. I was hoping to convince you of your magic before now, but maybe I can do dead what I couldn't do alive."
Well, that would be a fine bit of magic, wouldn't it? What – was she planning on haunting me? Giving me lessons on nature and spells and rapping my knuckles with her thimble when my mind wandered? Might prove hard, what with ghosts being so puny and difficult to understand.