MAGNETISM, a short story.
IT’S BEEN 48 DAYS, 12 hours and 30 minutes since she left her ex. It was a hard decision because she’d actually been into the guy. On top of actually having feelings for him, he’d been one of her better boyfriends—affectionate, considerate, paying all the bills. She’d miss his compulsive need to pleasure her every night. But his alcoholism, abandonment issues and the way he attached his sense of manhood to how “fragile” he thought she was had run their course.
She’d left one Autumn morning just after 7:30, she’d seen him off to work and then packed her old 2001 Mercedes c220 full of books and trinkets from her altar. She didn’t have much then, and still doesn’t, but she’d managed to land a decent job and had been able to furnish her small apartment with furniture and art from thrift stores in rich neighborhoods.
Things had been going along smoothly for her. She’d dusted off her vibrator and had gotten into a weekly routine of work, exercise, studying hoodoo, practicing spell work and cleaning her floors. This had helped her stay grounded and busy.
But tonight felt different. Not merely because it was Christmas Eve and she was alone. Her home was warm, with the small silver, foil tree her landlady had loaned her twinkling in the corner. Her mind was clear and her heart full of gratitude. Solitude and being fuckboy free had given her a sense of peace she hadn’t experienced in a long while. She was OK, but so full of energy and curiosity, she didn’t just want to stay home in bed. She wanted to get out and explore. She knew all her usual hangouts—the bookstore, yoga studio, and coffeehouse— would be closed due to the Holidays, but something must be open. This was Las Vegas after all.
“Hey Siri, FUH near me,” she said aloud, slipping out of bed and walking to her closet.
“One option nearby is Pho Kim Long on West Spring Garden Road. Do you want that one?” Siri responded dutifully.
“Yes,” she responded rummaging around in the closet.
“OK, I can get you directions or place a call, just tell me what you would like me to do.”
“Calling Pho Kim Long.”
“Hello, Pho Kim Long. How may I help you?” A pleasant, accented man’s voice asked.
Taking a simple, long Black dress off the hanger, she responded, “Just checking to see if you all are open.”
“Yes. 24 hour.” The voice responded graciously.
“Thank you!” She chimed holding the black dress before her reflection in the mirror, thinking it would probably make her look like a witch—perfect.
“You’re welcome!” Her phone beeps three times indicating the call had ended.
Walking to the bathroom, she turns off the hallway lights as she goes, then closes the bathroom door behind her, though she’s the only one here. Turning the shower on hot, she washes her face, ears and nose in the sink, then brushes her teeth while watching her face disappear in the mirror behind the fog emanating from the shower. She rinsed her mouth.
Water always puts her into a prayerful mood. “God thank you for another day. Thank you for my life and freedom. Thank you for always guiding and protecting me.” She slips out of her leggins and tee and steps into the shower.
Water carries consciousness. Her best ideas come in the shower. Her mind goes over her ex-boyfriend again. She realizes she doesn’t miss him and his odd Aquariusness…only the fact that he was always there, always down for whatever. “Alexa, play when white turns to grey by Bilal.” The music drops and she smiles. This song never fails to activate her memories. It makes her more alert while putting her in a trance. Now, this song reminds her of a different lover…an earlier one. Sbk, a pisces. Mmmm…
She grabs her almond castille soap, it’s filled with the herbs for MAGNETISM her root lady gave her. She squirts some on to a sponge, then grabs her bottle of rose water, she smiles at the bright red rose petals floating in the pink liquid and adds some to the sponge and lathers it up in her hands while praying.
“God, make me radiantly beautiful, draw love and affection into my life, grant me grace, peace, and self-control. Bless me. Bring men and women, an amazing lover and wonderful new friends who honor, protect, cherish, appreciate, and pour into me and my life. I exude poise, power, love, kindness, gentleness and ultra divine femininity to every person and situation I come into contact with. Asé!”
Bending down she begins washing herself from the bottoms of her feet and toes all the way up until her golden brown skin is covered with suds and bubbles. Asé! All the time her prayer continues, and the music is playing in the background.
After her shower she feels refreshed. Her skin is warm from the alcohol in the rose water. She smiles at the sensation. Stepping out of the shower, she turns off the water and grabs her clothes off the floor and walks out of the bathroom naked, to air dry.
She puts on her dollar sign diamond earrings, a gold 6RUJAS necklace and anklets her root lady made for her. Then slips her black dress over her head.
“Hey Siri, open Lyft app.”
Scooping up her phone she enters her destination. The driver is 3 minutes away.
Near the front door, she puts on her black booties, light army fatigue jacket, and grabs her purse. She hears her phone ding. The driver has arrived. She says Asé to her spirits and walks out the door, locking it behind her. Slipping into the car, she smiles because one of her current favorite songs is playing “When We,” by Tank.
“Good night!” She says to her driver. The woman with the thick dreads glances back, nods and flashes a gold smile.”
Our girl reaches into her bag for her mini mason jar of MAGNETISM oil. This is one of 19 bottles created on the most recent full moon, over-nighted from Miami. She shakes the bottle gently and holding the bottle between her hands she says a quick prayer under her breath. She opens the bottle and dips two fingers in, before securing the top and tossing it back in her bag. She rubs her hands together to create heat and prays over her hands before running them on her wrists, up her arms and through her braids, over the back of her neck and behind her ears.
“Mmm, you smell good. What’s that?” The driver wants to know.
“A special perfume Sis made for me.”
“Oh yeah,” the woman says licking her lips and nodding, “that’s what’s up. It smells amazing,” she compliments exuding dominant, masculine energy. Our girl smiles sweetly.
“Thank you, honey.”
She glances back again, flashing that smile again, “You’re welcome, sweetheart.” There’s a hint of a southern accent there. “So, what’s this place you’re going to?” The driver asks.
“Pho Kim Long.”
“Fuck him long?!”
Our girl laughs, she loves talking about her favorite pho restaurant, mostly because of how it sounds when pronounced correctly. “It’s a restaurant.”
The driver laughs now, "Yooo, that name is crazy.” They share a laugh. Another favorite song is on the radio now. “Sweetest Thing,” by Ms. Lauryn Hill. She arrives at the restaurant. “Good night, beautiful,” the driver calls after her. She waves.
In the restaurant, there is a corner booth, the hostess smiles when she sees our girl. “Merry Christmas Eve, sweetie, you look great.”
“Thank you, love,” she responds as the petite women attempts to place a menu before her. But she already knows what she wants. “I’ll just take a vegetarian noodle soup and water.” The woman nods to her and scurries away. Glancing around the restaurant our girl notices a man looking in her direction. She smiles politely and retrieves a book from her bag, The Master Book of Herbalism by Beyerl. “Elder figures in many folklores and spells as protection against lightning, against disease and crippling ailments, in divination and serious magick. Elder enjoys current use as a Magickal Herbe, an Herbe of Protection, a Funeral Herbe…” she reads. The woman returns placing her bowl before her along with a plate of fragrant raw veggies. She adds bean sprouts, greens, a squeeze of lime juice and crushed red pepper.
She enjoys the spicy, hot soup, easily drawing the rice noodles from the bowl with white chopsticks, glancing back at her book to read more. When she’s full she sips water and checks her phone. Maybe she’ll go check her favorite tables at South Pointe. “Can I get you anything else?” Her waitress wants to know.
“No ma’am. I’ll take the check,” she responds.
“That gentleman over there already paid,” she says indicating the gentleman who was giving her looks. Our girl is surprised. She can’t recall the last time a stranger purchased her meal. “Oh, wow.” She smiles at the waitress as she walks away but she can tell the man is resisting looking in her direction. She orders a ride to South Pointe. The driver is one minute away. Grabbing her bag she makes her way to the man’s table where he is still enjoying a drink.
“Thank you so much for covering my bill,” she says grinning, “that was so kind of you.”
“It was my pleasure. I see you here from time to time.”
She has never noticed him. “Is that right?” Her phone dings indicating her ride has arrived. He smiles glancing at the phone in her hand. He nods.
“Thank you so much, again,” she says looking him straight in the eye, “I’ll see you soon.”
“That you will. Merry Christmas.” He says as she turns to walk away.
Arriving at the casino, she feels light and grateful. She feels free and happy to be going to a casino alone in the middle of the night. No one to call and ask permission, no one demanding her attention, just her free to exist and flow.
Arriving on the floor, she finds to her disappointment that her ginger dealer, Christian is no where in sight. She scans the small floor slowly and finally settles on an older white woman with prune-like skin. She slides into a seat at the roulette table and puts $100 in. She does the thing with her mind where she’s becoming so relaxed, she might fall asleep. She calls whichever color comes into her mind, first. She wins more than she loses. And it’s not long before she’s $300 up.
Someone comes to sit at the table. A drunk, middle aged Black guy. He’s sitting too closely and talking too loudly, “Mmmm, is that you smelling so good?” She grabs her chips, tips the dealer and walks away.
Arriving home soon after, she is met by a clean, cozy, warm, safe and beautiful home. Her heart is filled with gratitude. She lights a stick of incense for her ancestors as she does every night before retiring and every morning before starting her day. She checks all the doors, places her phone on the charger, sets her alarm for morning prayers and yoga. She shimmies out of her dress, letting it cascade to the floor. She climbs into bed and falls alseep thinking of the man in the restaurant content, smelling the MAGNETISM oil in her hair.