My sister Brittany has magical powers.
Come on back here, I’m serious! She has always had magical powers. Our mother has been known to say, on more than one occasion, “She’s part witch.”
Now, Brittany’s powers aren’t anything frightening or over the top. That’s what is so spooky about them. Their subtlety is what makes you go, “Oh. OH!”
Brittany also has the power of the obvious on her side, as in, she notices the obvious. She also knows what’s going on behind the scenes when no one else does. For instance, when I was eight or nine, we were all running around trying to figure out why the toilette was suddenly backed up and overflowing. We finally got the water turned off. Dad is sweating profusely from all the plunging he’s been doing. No one still has any idea what brought about this fiasco.
Well, enter Brittany (much like The Dragon) in her Rainbow Bright nightgown with her straggly blond hair hanging beside her face. With her not-so-subtle lisp she says, “Maybe it was the apple I flushed earlier.”
That’s how Brittany has it.
Her real magical power is in finding lost objects. It is uncanny. When Brittany lived in North Carolina, mom could call her from Gulf Breeze, Florida, and inquire as to where Brittany imagined that lost cross-stitch pattern might have gone.
“Did you check in the drawer under the microwave, under the hammer and extension cords to the right, beside the pink half-burned taper candles?”
I am not kidding, it’d be there every time.
Now, maybe you might say Brittany saw said lost object in that place nine and a half years ago, and when someone goes looking for it, she just remembers. A memory like an elephant, that one has. But my youngest sibling’s powers go beyond that.
The last weekend of my yoga teacher training I wore a pair of elephant earrings I dearly love. I wear them for special occasions, when I want to feel pretty or when I feel like I need an extra boost of good mo-jo. These earrings are about the size of a quarter (so I can wear them to work, unlike the nose ring I desperately want) and they are silver in a tarnished antique sort of way. The elephants’ trunks are up and I always wear them so that these up-turned trunks face away from me, like guardians of my skull. On the broad side of each elephant there is an amber looking stone.
My mother bought me these earrings a million years ago. I just turned twenty-five. I just began kung fu training and I was a new hairdresser at Dillards. I wore these earrings to Thanksgiving dinner in south Florida with my grandmother. I wore a brown daisy print wrap-dress that reminded me of my great-grandmother, Honey. I wore pink frosted lipstick in her honor.
The last time I wore these earrings, these precious baby elephants that I swear make tips bigger at work and blast negative psychic energy away from my brain, was in January when I graduated from Dragonfly Yoga Studies teacher training program. I came home and removed all my regalia. I put the earrings on my writing desk and passed out directly, only to wake many hours later emotionally hung over and elated simultaneously.
Iola Boylen, baby kitten extraordinaire, had just come to live with me. She was a wild one when I first got her home. She is still a wild one, but she’s more contained. The ceiling fan doesn’t put her into attack mode. She no longer feels compelled to put her butt directly in the center of my beloved house plants. She no longer runs an Indie 500 over my writing-table. I think while I was napping that day she took a pit stop to air her tires and something happened to one of my earrings. I looked everywhere to n oavail.
I took the single baby elephant earring and put it in one of my mother’s tea cups, which I then placed on my bookshelves. My bookshelves are an altar of sorts, where extinguished perfumes lay in wait for their season to return (if you’ve ever smelled the heat of Donna Karan’s Black Cashmere in high summer, you’d understand. – some fragrances need the cool air to cut their bite, this coming from someone who will wear patchoulli at noon). There is framed art my niece created, pictures of my sisters and I in all our random glory and a bouquet of glittery blue plastic flowers in a very expensive pink glass vase.
This is where my history goes to rest. And so there goes my solitary elephant, I think to die.
In a last-ditch effort, I call Brittany. I tell her I’ve lost one of those earrings (she knows the ones) and if she knows where it is to please get it back to me. It is not beyond reason for me to believe that the thing will appear on the counter in front of her coffee pot and I’ll have the thing back before sunset the following day.
It’s been a while since I graduated teacher training. Out of respect, I’ve not worn any other earrings. I knew the day would come, like finally getting a new kitten. I figured Brittany would either find it or not. I turned it over to God via my middle sibling.
Tonight I enter my room and the first thing that draws my attention is a small tarnished silver elephant with an amber stone on its side. I turn my head and stand in the doorway for a moment. I pick this artifact up and place it in my palm. I wonder if this is really the match, or if somehow the “not lost” elephant got loose. I check and there in the bottom of a small tea-cup resides the other elephant.
I consider this to be a most auspicious occasion. In case you were wondering, elephants are a very auspicious symbol in my home. They look over me from many angles, both high and low, in my room. There is a small one posted outside my bedroom door beside a temple cat of equal size. There is a hand carved Ganesha (elephant headed God, son of Shiva whose name means auspicious in case you were wondering) who sits beside me while I write.
I do not think it was accidental that I came home with a long-lost baby elephant resting on my computer, sweetly and simply waiting to be reunited with his mate. I do not know what it means; maybe a book deal, winning the lottery, a rainy day with my journal, understanding one sutra from The Yoga Sutras (ah, that’d be nice), Swami Jaya Devi coming to town. I don’t know, but it’s a sweet sign. I do not think it is coincidence that Brittany was at the house tonight while I was out. I think it is serendipitous. I think she is wonderful. I think her powers are great.