Chapter 15: Mischief
Edie wondered what she could do to entertain her family while they were between activities. Dinner would be starting soon, but most likely, nobody would be ready to eat yet. Her grandmother seemed bored now that Leila had gone. Edie walked over and sat next to her on her bed. “You seemed to get along well with Leila,” she said.
Her grandmother turned to her with a smile. “I did. She’s a sweet girl.” She patted Edie’s hand gently with her soft, dry hand. “I’m so glad you found someone.”
Edie couldn’t help smiling, both because she was thinking about Leila and because her grandmother had never seemed before to be entirely accepting of her sexuality. It felt really good to finally be accepted. She considered asking about that, but decided that she was unlikely to get a straight answer. Besides, she didn’t want to cause any strain in her family during this short visit. Instead, she said, “I was surprised that the two of you seemed to get along so well. You’re two generations apart.”
Her grandmother smiled mischievously. “Are you calling me old?”
Edie laughed. “No, bubbe. I promise.”
“All right.” Her grandmother nodded. “Well, at first I had to talk to her to make sure she is taking good care of you, and then… well, I suppose she reminded me of my own mother.”
“Really?” Edie had thought Leila could be old-fashioned sometimes, attributing that to the fact that she used Elizabethan English more than half the time, but she didn’t think her girlfriend was quite so old-fashioned as to remind anyone of her great-grandmother. “How so?”
“Oh, it’s hard to define, I think. I had a sense that she sticks very closely to her own moral code, but she’s not above a bit of mischief. Did you know, when I was a child and my family went swimming, my mother would hide under the water so my father couldn’t find her?”
“I didn’t know that,” Edie said. She didn’t find it as amusing as her grandmother seemed to, but she smiled anyway. She hoped Leila never did anything like that to her. It didn’t seem likely, though. She might like mischief (that part was true), but she would never do anything to frighten or hurt Edie. She was always very careful of Edie’s feelings. That was one of the many things that made Edie realize how very lucky she was.
“She would have been very proud of you,” her grandmother said. “She was very proud of your mother. Just as I am, of course, of both of you. Your mother was the first woman in our family to go to college. In my time, I could have gone, but we couldn’t afford it. My mother always wanted to go, but the only colleges at that time that allowed women only taught things like domestic arts, which she was already quite skilled at.”
“Really? I know there were women at this college for a couple of hundred years at least.” Edie tried to picture either Professor Lal teaching, or Ever learning, “domestic arts” and had to keep herself from giggling. There had probably been other faeries at the school around that time as well, male and female, and they would have probably defied norms as much as they could have.
“Oh, she wouldn’t have gone to a college like this. She might be proud of you, but she would still disapprove. She was always opposed to any kind of superstition. She wouldn’t like the idea that this school claims to teach magic.”
Edie’s mother walked over and sat down next to her. “What kind of stories are you boring Edith with, Mom?”
“I’m just telling her about your grandmother.”
“And it’s not boring,” Edie added.
Her mom smiled. “I guess not. It’s too bad you never got to meet her, Edith. You would have liked her.”
“I’m sure I would have,” Edie agreed.
“So have you explored the town here at all? What’s the name of it, anyway?” her mom asked.
“I think it’s called West Ashburn,” Edie said. “I’ve been there a few times. It’s a lot like home, really. You know, one street with all the shops, neat houses with white picket fences.”
“Do they have a synagogue?”
“Not that I noticed,” Edie said, frowning a little. She tried to picture any building from the town taller than a two-story house and failed. “I’m not sure there were any churches, either. Maybe they’re just small.”
“Well, that’s not what I really wanted to ask about anyway,” her mom said. “I thought we could all go out to eat. I was looking over the list of activities for this weekend and saw that the only dinner option is regular dining hall food. What kind of restaurants are there?”
“I’d love to go out to eat,” Edie said honestly. The restaurants would probably be crowded, but so would the dining hall. Then an idea popped into her head. “You know, there’s a nice Asian fusion place that we haven’t gone to yet because it’s too expensive…”
“Let me talk to your dad,” her mom said with a grin and a wink.