Chapter 8: Stories
They were nearly to the table where the food was being served when Corrie caught up to yesterday’s class, the second one in a series on the symbolism of Tarot cards. Professor Lal hadn’t explained how they were used magically yet, only hinting that there were uses other than divination, but they were interesting to learn about. “I remember being interested in the Tarot when I was your age,” her grandma said thoughtfully. “I didn’t realize it was still around, or as old as you say it is. I might start looking into it again.”
“You could do readings for your customers at the diner,” Corrie suggested.
“Ooh, I think it’s a bit too greasy there to want to put cards down! I suppose that's all my fault--I could just clean the counters more often.”
“So you’re not doing anything with herbs and candles like we do at home?” her mom asked.
“We aren’t doing anything at all yet, remember? It’s all theory for now.” Corrie tried to picture the syllabus. The second half of the semester was coming closer every day, and Professor Lal had said that was when they would start to actually do magic. “I don’t know if we’re going to do anything like that at all. I know there’s something on the syllabus about working with the four elements, so that might be similar. The magic we learn at school does seem to be more… hmm… systematic.”
“I expect most magic, even from other pagans, is more systematic than ours!” said her mom with a laugh.
Corrie grinned. “True!” She had encountered magic that was more similar to her family’s magic, but it was associated with people she didn’t like to think about, the Circle of the Goddess club. Interesting magic wasn’t worth it if you had to work with sexist, bigoted people like them. And she had to admit to herself that even they had seemed more systematic than her family, with their preplanned chants.
When they finally had some food—for Corrie, it was fried chicken and corn on the cob, even though it was a little late in the year for that combination—they looked around for a table. Thankfully, it didn’t take as long to find one of those as it had to get the food. They picked one near the edge of the group so they wouldn’t be surrounded by noise. It was still pretty noisy, but only from one side, and the forest seemed to absorb the sound to some extent. Corrie had looked around to see if any of her friends were there with their families, but if they were, she couldn’t see them in the crowd.
The three of them continued to talk, though Corrie turned the conversation away from her and toward what her mom and grandma were up to. It might have been the weekend for them to find out about her, but she missed them and wanted to hear about their lives. Besides, her grandma was a great storyteller.
As the laughter faded away following one of her grandma’s stories about the fraught love life of one of the other chefs at the diner where she worked, Corrie heard her name being called. It was faint, but not too many other names sounded like hers. She twisted around in her chair, corn in one hand, trying to find the source of the sound. Finally she spotted Edie, walking towards them from the end of the buffet line. She waved enthusiastically.
When Edie came close enough to sit down, she saw that she was still with Leila and her parents. Edie sat down on the other side of Corrie’s mom, and Corrie made the introductions as quickly as she could.
“Quite a crowd, isn’t it?” commented Edie’s mom.
“I suppose we all want to come out and see what our newly-minted college students are up to,” said Corrie’s grandma, who was sitting next to her.
“True!” laughed Edie’s dad. “I’m surprised there are so many, though—it’s a small school. I guess a lot are like us and bring the whole family.”
“I feel bad for the people in the jazz ensemble,” said Edie’s grandmother. “They’re busy playing and can’t spend time with their family.”
“I doubt very many of them are freshmen,” said Corrie. “Our friend Annie is a musician—she plays the oboe in the school orchestra. She said there’s only two other freshmen in the orchestra, and that’s a much bigger group than the jazz ensemble.” She took a quick sideways glance at Edie to see if she had any reaction to Annie being mentioned, but she was busy in a conversation with Leila.
“Oh, is the orchestra playing this weekend?” Corrie’s mom asked. “We should go see that if one of your friends is in it.”
“I’m not sure,” Corrie said. “If we find Annie later we can ask her about it.”