Tendrils of dark hair dangle from her bun; refusing to be ordered and catalogued.  She is wrapped in a dark sweater that has no end and drapes over itself.  If she was a color, she would be lavender and the sky at dusk.  She does not contrast with the dusky oranges and sun-streaked pink tones.  She compliments them.

Her nails are gel—a new hobby she will pick up, practice and perfect within weeks, and then continue on for years as if it has always been a part of her.  She is always new.  New books and new jewelry, new projects and new stories, new revelations and new moments of friendship near a roaring fire or stirring a fresh beverage from a college coffee shop.  Tonight, her cauldron is her tea.  The tea bag floats lazily in the sunshiny-water, and we are at peace.

She communicates with clicks and giggles, the sound of nails pressing against the keyboard.  Her tools of her craft are Etsy shops and her employee discount from the bookstore she labors over.  Her powers come from yard sales and thrift stores, trunk shows and wholesale websites.  Her quests are for the pretty things in life.  The aesthetical pleasure of sea glass, the fresh scents of homemade bath salts, and the handwritten notes of tarot cards are all forms of her worship.  Today, our temple is the lounge of the college café.  A jazz band plays in the corner, and we pause in our writings to clap appropriately after the solos.  I joke about conducting, my slender fingers slipping into a rhythm of four-four time.  She corrects me.  One snaps their fingers for jazz, one never controls the flow.  Her own hands are sure and confident as she shows us handmade runes and oracle cards, spreading her bag of tricks across a background of the world.  Her cloth is a map of the places she will visit someday.

She reminds me of amethyst, hard and confident in places but soft and alluring in others.  It is her confidence that has drawn me to her.  She is proud of her collection of esoteric paraphernalia- a collection of objects that would mean nothing, but are given meaning and purpose and a sense of destiny in her capable hands.  She shares clear crystals with us; as pure and open as her own heart.  Her room is a compendium of advanced reader copies and signed books from authors she speaks of with soft, reverenced tones.  She is capable of more hobbies and interests than anyone else I have ever met- but unlike the rest of us she can continue on without discarding them; of retaining herself and her own essence without falling into a new personality every new parlor trick she picks up.

Her laugh is like sunlight streaming through the trees.  She is the perfect balance of optimism and gentle friendship, of spending flex dollars on my sandwiches, of sharing strawberry wine during Disney movie marathons; but also of something much less innocent, much more mature.  She is secure in her relationship and in her expectations, and she wields her femininity in clunky rings and bullet journaling.  I imagine inside of herself there are many versions, standing around a stone circle in a foreign land whispering memories to themselves.  Every week she holds a visitation for the girl she was before, and brings a new piece of poetical fiction to our shared class.

She stresses she is not a witch, not wiccan nor pagan.  She reads her tarot cards with surety and salt, and knocks on them afterwards.  She constantly offered disclaimers at the beginning that she did not practice.  But she speaks of portals and dark corners and nightmares best left alone, and it does not take a crystal ball to guess she has seen some shit somehow.  Her crystal necklace tonight has grown cloudy, more trinket than talisman.  I show her something magical I have found online, and she approves.

“You basically are a witch,” I point out, laughing.

“Yeah,” She agrees.

That’s fine.  I’ll be one too.

ANNA KAYE-ROGERS is a student at NIU where she studies English, Creative Writing, and Communications. She has been published in Eastern Iowa Review, Nonbinary Review, The Feminine Collective, and Northern Illinois University Towers. She is a regular contributor for Penfetti.