“Hi, there!” I cheerfully called back, thus launching a 3-minute chat about how he’s 11 years-old, from Arizona, visiting family in Nanaimo for a week, while movers transfer all of their belongings from one side of the hot and dusty state to the other. We talked about the weather, fun things he’s done over the past few days...But I’ve got meat and cheese in my grocery bag, so, I said “I have to go, now. Bye!”
Twenty minutes later, I was just sitting down to a charcuterie platter for lunch, when I heard that same familiar “Hello!” calling through my apartment window.
I got up and went out to my below-grade (basement) apartment patio, to find the boy waving at me, from above.
“Is that your cat?” he asked, gesturing to Maive, sunning herself on the warm cement.
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Hey, I remember you,” he chuckled. “You’re that lady I talked to a few minutes ago. Can I come down and play with your cat?”
“Uhhhh...sure. Why not?” I mumbled, with a complete lack of enthusiasm.
So, he came down the stairs to my patio and we started chatting again, while he bent down to pet Maive. His name is Ian, he starts 6th grade in September and he likes snakes, scorpions and spiders – especially tarantulas. He also likes ghosts, and he believes in ghosts because he worships the Holy Ghost.
“Oh, so...you’re a Mormon, then?” I pressed him, recalling news stories and statistics about the big Mormon population in that area of the United States.
“Uh-huh,” he said, proudly.
Remembering that I had a plateful of food waiting for me, I told him I had to go eat lunch.
“Can I come with you?” he asked. “Maybe I can help you clean up your apartment?”
W T F?
“No, sorry,” I muttered, and headed for my patio door, only to find Ian hot on my heels as I stepped back into my living room (FYI, I put my bed in my living room and set up a home office in my bedroom). So, this kid from Arizona was now steps away from my unmade bed, with black sheets and various, uh...playtime accoutrements on it, which I quickly stashed away while he gazed with amazement around my really cool pad.
“I’m an interior decorator,” I informed him, as he scanned my collection of horse head statues, gargoyles, ceremonial daggers, human skull replicas, crystals, tarot cards, framed pictures of friends who’ve played vampires in movies etc...and then he spotted my huge tome on Demonology, Witchcraft and World Mythology on a shelf, just underneath my flat screen TV.
Now, those of you who’ve known me for years are fully aware that I’m not a huge fan of kids. I’ve been a nanny to several children but I am under no illusion that I resemble Mary Poppins in any way, shape or form. I tolerate kids because I understand that they are people, too, and they are curious about the world, adventurous and thirsty for knowledge. So, if they ask me a question, I pretty much flat-out tell them the truth, regardless of what tight-assed, close-minded helicopter parents might think is “age appropriate.”
“Yes, I’m a witch,” I replied. “So, I have a lot of books about demons and witches and ghosts and monsters.”
He nodded, matter-of-factly, and urged me to elaborate. So, I opened the book in question and we started talking about Odin, Thor, Zeus, Osiris, Mars, Diana, Aphrodite, Robin Hood, King Arthur, Merlin, Satan, Mephistopheles...going over pictures and diagrams and occult symbols.
Now, thoroughly satisfied that I had tainted Ian’s sweet, innocent and impressionable young mind, I told him he had to go because my lunch was still waiting for me, on the dining table, a few feet away.
“Can’t I stay just a little while longer?” he begged, and stretched out across my bed.
“Oh, no-no-no-no. Sorry, Ian,” I chuckled, trying not to appear panicked, cuz everyone knows it is SO not cool to let some random underaged kid get all comfy on top of your bed.
So, he gave me a quick hug (awkward!) and off he went.
Freaks, man. They just gravitate right to me.