Both Aroh and Lily have decided that it was time I learned self-defense. I was pretty nervous my first time sparring with Aroh, but after a few weeks I got the hang of footwork and hitting down pressure points. One of our matches I took down Aroh single handedly and it was so remarkable I even questioned if what I did was actually real. He hit the mat with a “Humph!”
“Damn,” he gasped for air, “You’re making more progress then I was expecting.” I must admit, I was surprised by my own will power. I was running with Aroh every morning and doing yoga and breathing exercises with Lily. After the last call I had with Tarah weeks before I decided it was time to take all my life experiences up to this point seriously. She told me to master my own demons and weaknesses, challenge my patience and determination, which will increase the drive to my absolute best. I finished the Book of Now, and I feel that I am ready to attack whatever lies ahead head on.
Inamorta had studied with her Master for a year and had completed the Trials of the Red Dragonfly, yet they were not fully explained in the book, only referred to as ‘voids she visited.’ The boy unnamed wrote of how she was able to call upon the elements by her own Will, and mastered the darkness of her subconscious. She had visited Hell and Heaven, and she had reached the Crown of the Universe. There were no easy steps, because the steps were not written down, more like they were riddles. I had a sinking feeling that this book will not tell nor give me the correct language I need to get along with my own Work. It reminded me of a ‘writing fiction for dummies’ book, yet it didn’t give you the ideas of books, just how to scope through it. It is the key to a lock but it is not the only lock on the door, and the key secretly can open up all the locks with the right variations. It was definitely a mind twister.
I almost didn’t understand it until I read it for the fifteenth time, “Replenish the cup from the cosmic well, burn anew fiery hearted child- an open box in the universe of wonders.” I’ll leave that for your own comprehension.
I felt like her trials were more like one big rundown of her duty being a Dragonfly. But now I know there are more out there, more like me. I had a feeling not a lot of magicians knew of the power they possess, but knowing so could lead to absolute truth or destruction. I felt like I was very destructive in my past, but since Xavier it’s been something different. Something meaningful, I feel I can offer the world something more that’s already there. It’s hiding in plain sight- just no one knows how to search for it.
It’s been two months now. Two months without a word from Xavier, and only one phone call from Tarah. I miss Ashley, and Leonard. I miss my dorm room. But I don’t miss my ordinary life; I like the way the tide is forcing me into new obstacles and things. It was around seven in the evening, and I decided to go out and smoke. Lily and Aroh were aware of my smoking habits, they know it helps with anxiety and it releases pinned up stress- so they don’t try to approach me about it. I took my bag and tightened the amulet around my neck before I headed out. They gave me a key whenever they were not home or if I was going to be out late. I dressed in all black to weaken the risk of getting caught. I rolled a joint and headed out with my headphones, phone, and lighter in hand.
Locking the door behind me, I walked down to my right. I decided to walk to the beach, there I can stand underneath the pier and smoke.
There were many picket fences and two story beach homes that were all faded in color except for a few that were refurnished into bigger and more expensive homes. Some homeowners and neighbors were outside with their kids and dogs, I waved to them and smiled as I passed by. The sea salt in the air was cool and the whole Galveston feel was very low key and calm. I felt especially watery these past two months, getting ahold of my journey and picking out the flow of the day.
I was growing stronger each day, and I felt more confident in myself than I’ve ever had. I felt strong, and these past few months I’ve been practicing everything Tarah had mentioned, even getting advice and guidance from Lily and Aroh. These people were my family now, and I wasn’t going to jeopardize everything up to this point.
I got to the wall of the beach and went down a set of stairs. In my flip flops, I jumped down the last step and dropped onto the white sand below. Galveston was dirty compared to other beaches, but this particular beach had a drawing feeling to it. It made city folk want to live near the beach.
I was near the touring pier ‘Pleasure Pier’ and underneath were a few teenagers around my age. And then there was her.
“Kayla-” Her name escaped my lips before I could adjust to the fact that she had already saw me coming and started to meet me halfway.
“Lolita.” She spoke smiling. I pulled out my joint from behind my ear and lit it. Tonight was just beginning, I thought. She had her hair pinned up in a high ponytail and she was wearing short shorts and a red tank top. She had the same boots on and I tried to look at her up and down before she noticed. She turned and I followed her to the group of two girls and a guy. She introduced me to Nana, Leslie and Drake. They all had matching band shirts, and they explained to me that they just went to a house concert.
“Wow. I didn’t know they had them down here!” I said amazed. Kayla put her arm around my shoulders and pulled me close. I could smell alcohol on her lips.
“We got everything down here, baby girl.” She spoke. My cheeks warmed and my heart sputtered in my chest. What was happening? Was she hitting on me?! I think so! Oh dear, okay- okay. Act cool.
“Bet they don’t have… Magicians!” I teased. They all kind of laughed, mimicking pulling out something from their pockets. Well, I thought, at least I tried. The conversation topic went off into its own little world and the sun dropped and the moon raised. We decided to get off the beach and return to Nana’s house that was a few minutes away. We passed my street heading to her place.
Me, Kayla and Leslie were piled in the back and head banged to a metal artist playing on the radio. I let the evening take me on a journey that I’d never forget.
“So-” Kayla hiccuped, “You married? In a relationship? Go on- tell me!”
“Well,” I began, “My ‘boyfriend’ I guess you could say is in Florida for a job opportunity and haven’t seen him since I moved down here- I’m from Houston.”
“A Houstonian!” She perked up at my answer, “I’ve heard they make a mean lean- is that true?”
I laughed nervously, not knowing what she meant by lean, and she caught on to my blissful laugh. “Oh, you have much to learn, little grasshopper!” She bumped shoulders with me and that same butterfly affect tickled my stomach. She whispered in my ear a little too loudly, saying that she was on coke and molly. Man, I thought, this girl is something else. Our shoulders stayed in contact until we made it to a one story white beach home, pulling into the small driveway.
We all climbed out of the green Jeep and up the stairs. Nana pulled out her keys and jammed one into the keyhole. Opening up, a small gray pit bull yelped and wagged its tail at his owner. Nana picked the small pup up and bestowed kisses on him. “Lola- or Lolita, this is Benjamin! I found him abandoned on the beach a few weeks ago and decided to name him mine. He’s cute isn’t he?” She patted his head and he moved his face up to lick hers. I went up to the little pup and scratched him behind the ear.
“He’s a darling little thing ain’t he?” I spoke in a cute voice. She sat him down on the ground and we all passed the small living room and made our way to a nice size bedroom with lava lamps on every table and different colored lights hanging on the ceiling. Nana sat on her bed as the rest of us shimmied onto a couch facing her. Behind her she pulled out a water bong, and began loading marijuana into the bowl. Rap music was playing on the speakers and everyone conversed wildly. I assumed that the rest of Kayla’s friends were on something as well but I couldn’t be sure. Kayla pulled out a small coke bag and began to pour out its contents on the coffee table. She divided the contents into four lines.
“You wanna hit?” She asked me, I shook my head- explaining that I only smoke. She shrugged her shoulders and leaned over the table, using a cut straw to snort up the coke.
“Ahh,” she leaned back and inhaled loudly, “that’s the stuff your mama hides under her bed in a box.”
“My turn!” Leslie, the skinny redhead spoke, leaning over the table. After her, Drake took his turn, then Nana. The fourth line they split amongst themselves, and I wondered how they felt compared to my not-so-high self. I need to get higher, I thought. And on that note, Nana passed the bong to me. Excited to smoke out of a big piece, I lit up the bowl and ripped a huge hit. My lungs burned on the intake and I coughed madly.
Nana turned up the music and began to dance. “Woo!” She hollered, “Let’s get fucking fucked up!!” She ran into the other room and came back with a bottle of vodka. Pouring each of us a shot, we clanked our glasses together and in union we drank. I coughed as the vodka rushed down the back of my throats and settled in my stomach. It felt warm.
We all conversed on basic topics while the bong was being passed around. Every round after we would each take a hit, we poured another shot, and then another, and then another, and I began to lose count.
By nine o’ clock I was already drunk, and I didn’t know it hit me until I suggested we all play truth or dare.
“Me first! Me first!” Leslie excitedly spoke. Nana asked her truth or dare, and she chose dare.
“Ok, I dare you to give your best impression of Nicholas Cage.” The group laughed and watched Leslie as she got up and cracked her knuckles.
“Alright, y’all get ready cuz this is gonna be a doozy; Ahem. ‘Killing me won’t bring back your god damn honey! Ahh! Not the bees!!'” On cue everyone laughed.
“The wicker man is my fave!” Drake insisted, laughing as he slapped his knee funnily. After everyone had drunkenly calmed down, it was Nana’s turn to play- Leslie asked her truth or dare.
“Pussy!” Drake hollered, and Nana flipped him off. Leslie thought for a moment before asking, “How many people have you slept with?” Nana began to silently count on her fingers, and before she could answer, Kayla commented, “Forty!”
“Nah, fifty.” Leslie whispered to Kayla. They giggled but Nana looked mildly hurt.
“I heard that!” She said, shaking her head, focusing back to counting. After a moment, she spoke, “Thirty-three.”
“Daaamn!” We all spoke in unison and laughed uncontrollably.
“Yea, yea- laugh all you want, fuckers.” She joked, flipping off all of us now.
I couldn’t hold in my laughter, and I was shocked to hear her say that many. She’s probably only twenty-one, maybe two.
“Alrighty- for next contestant… Lola!” Nana pointed to me with a wicked smile.
“It’s Lolita.” Kayla interjected. Nana made a talking too much gesture with her hands, mouthing ‘blah blah blah.’ I giggled, nervously thinking if I should be brave and choose dare, or stick to old times sake and choose truth.
“Dare.” I decided. Everyone ooo’d and snickered. Nana thought of what she would say.
“I dare you to kiss Kayla.”