Part 7 – Smile through your fear and sorrow (j/k that’s a terrible idea)

What Cassie can tell Grace about the ring is that it’s the wedding ring of Andrea’s sister.  You guys remember her right?  She was a police detective and she found out about magic and her husband died and she got transfer to work for a fake FBI division to keep her quiet and she had a hard time with that and eventually she killed herself as a sacrifice for a blood magic revenge ritual.  You remember?  It’s one of the three things (any by things I mean horrible deaths) that Grace feels responsible for that will end up destroying her if she doesn’t learn to live with them.  Guess what the other two are and win a free water pick! 

Grace never said the name of the detective because names are a weird thing in magic sometimes and she never knows who might be reading her blog.  But I don’t need to worry about that.  Her name was Mary Warner and what you may not remember (or maybe you do, how would I know?) is that that her downward slide got kicked off when her husband did some undercover work with a cult and found out about magic.   

Oh, I see, the female character can’t have her own arc, it’s all related to her husband, nice writing you patriarchal jerkass!  I think it’s okay, a male character with a dead wife as a motivator is a literature staple so flipping it the other way around is feminism?  Recreating the exact plots that have already been carried out by men is derivative, unoriginal, and lazy, if you want to be a feminist how about an original creative idea?  Can we just move on please? 

Mary’s husband Giulio got a more involved with magic than she realized.  Aside from stealing a magic rock that ultimately drove him insane he also enchanted her wedding ring to warn him/locate her if she was ever badly injured.  And all he had to do to make that happen was kill several horses.  Blood magic, ain’t it grand?  The magic in her ring was keyed to his own wedding ring and when he died (Mary implied to Grace that the Swede had him killed but actually he also took his own life) Mary started wearing his ring as well.  When she died both rings passed to Andrea and she took to wearing them on a necklace from time to time.   

One of those times Dale spotted it and decided that he needed to steal it to gain status with his black magic asshole pals, but here’s a little magic side effect, it can’t be taken and retain its powers, it must be freely given, so he couldn’t just snatch it.  Murder might work but Dale doesn’t have the cajones to find out for sure.  So Instead he’s putting the moves on Andrea.  Normally Andrea wouldn’t be receptive to the attention of a dirtbag like Dale but she’s having a hard time on account of her sister dying horribly and suddenly being in charge of an angry emotionally traumatized teenager.  Dale offered a shoulder to cry on and methamphetamine too.  It’s hard to say which will be more damaging to her in the long term.   

This seems like a lot of trouble for a pair of rings that are basically the world’s worst Apple Watch doesn’t it?  Well, here’s the thing about that.   Giulio didn’t know what he was doing.  Without someone to teach you magic is hard to get even mostly right.  In the olden days when there was enough loose magic in the world that people could occasionally pick it up on their own most of those people died in magical accidents six or seven spells in.  The margin for error is very slender.   

Giulio imbued the rings with way more magic than needed for a simple call/locate spell.  Way way more.  Not because of the horse slaughter but because of the magic rock he stole that drove him insane.  It’s like hooking up a nightlight to a nuclear reactor, it’s not doing much but it’s not because there isn’t a lot of juice there, it’s because it’s a stupid use of the power available.   I think that’s a good analogy.   

Anyway, Cassie doesn’t know all that, she just knows that Dale is after the ring, but now you do! 

Since the ring conversation is a short one Cassie shifts to another topic, namely her life being ruined, a favorite of teens the world over.  Grace’s response of “You’re only seventeen, your life hasn’t even started yet” falls on deaf ears, not because Grace is wrong and Cassie is 18, but because teenagers are notoriously short sighted.  I mean I guess also because Cassie magic murdered several people because she thought God told her to and gave her the means of so doing.  That’s going to take more to work through than a “things get better video”.   

When Cassie asks reasonably/unfairly how she’s supposed to be normal after having her faith destroyed and being a multiple times over murderer all Grace can think to say is “Uh . . . therapy?”  To which Cassie retorts that she used to go to therapy but he therapist wanted to have sex with her so she quit.  That’s not actually true but Cassie has trust issues, especially when it comes to men.  You know, for some reason.  Grace does think to herself that if you want guys not to have sex with you maybe don’t wear fishnets and a boob shirt, but she doesn’t say anything because she knows that’s not cool even though she thought it.   

If you asked Grace she would say that this little heart-to-heart at the Coffee Machine was an unmitigated disaster.  But as usual she’s selling herself short.  Getting a chance to talk about it was helpful for Cassie.  But that’s not all.  Grace thinks she failed because she has no answers, but the point is that she tries, she cares.  Often time there aren’t any answers, what matters is that someone shows up and tries.

When you think of a positive person you think of someone who’s kind of annoying.  Someone with a Dr. Seuss t-shirt and dumb catchphrases and inane aphorisms that don’t help jack shit.   People who say things like –  

  1. Just stay positive
  2. Don’t worry, everything will work out
  3. It’s all part of a bigger plan
  4. Look on the bright side
  5. Only good vibes allowed

Words that are about as helpful to a person struggling as picture of water is to someone on fire.  The people saying those things mean well but they usually cause the person they’re talking to feel more aliened and more disconnected.   

Grace is positive person in a different way.  She doesn’t give up.  She keeps going.  She keeps trying.  She doesn’t say anything that magically makes Cassie “better” because there’s nothing you can say that’s going to fix everything.  But she’s there.  She’s showing that she cares.  That she wants Cassie to stop feeling horrible all the time.  Grace will never be a motivational speaker but she does a lot more than she realizes.   

And that’s not nothing.   

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