With such a large cast of characters associated with the Epiphany Cafe, it’s inevitable that I will neglect someone. You may have been wondering what the High Street Witch has been up to. Now that the Lisping Barista has swung her bat and the Geeky Guy has fired his gun, you may be thinking it’s high time we returned to High Street to see what the witch is doing. Well, if so, today is your lucky day. We’re heading there now; and so are the Geeky Guy and the Lisping Barista.
The witch was sitting in the front room, petting her black cat and cackling at her sitcoms, not far from the door through which they entered. The Geeky Guy had never been the type to sneak in; but he never brought a girl home with him, either. Theirs was an ancient house, a warren of undersized rooms which were filled with piles and piles of junk; creating a labyrinth of passageways to insure that nothing could escape. He was sneaking in now, relying on the stacks of newspapers by the door to avoid her questions.
The sitcoms were not so absorbing so as to occupy all the High Street Witch’s mind or her senses. Nothing her brother did ever got past her, although she may not understand it all. She hadn’t been like a mother to him all these years for nothing, although it seemed that way now. She had eyes in the back of her head, like a mother, and she had ears by the door. In fact, she was more of a mother than their mother had even been, as she often found a reason to say.
Her brother had been acting strangely, ever since that girl infiltrated their lives. He came home very late from the date and never told her a thing about it. He’d always told her everything, even when there was nothing to say. Then, she heard he bought a coffee shop. A coffee shop! Except for drinking coffee, what could he know about coffee shops? But, if going on a date and buying a coffee shop was all that had happened, it would’ve been quite unusual, indeed. But nothing could hurt as much as the single, cruel, selfish thing he did, then.
She had left college the very night of their parent’s accident without even packing her stuff. She got on a Greyhound bus that worried through every town, till she arrived at the hospital and found him sitting alone with his clothes covered in blood, too sad to even cry. She never returned to school, foreswearing her own life, in favor of devotion to his. She never asked for anything in exchange, but there was one thing she liked.
The very night she returned, he took a bath and dressed pre-pubescently in his PJ’s. She walked through the rambling, dreadfully desolate, old house and thought, how could only two fill this space? When he went to his room for the night and she went to hers, it was as she was totally alone in the world. No, worse than that. It was as if she had been thrown off the world and was hurtling through the vacancy of space.
It was then that her little brother did the most wonderful thing. He knocked on her door. And she did the most natural, motherly thing. She opened the sheets to let him in. They spent that night in full embrace. Two lost children, there for each other, with no one else in the world.
That’s the way it had been for years until the High Street Witch found out about the girl, went to the coffee shop, and attempted to cast her spell. You remember the spell, don’t you? The cruel, calculating, guilt-inducing accusation, designed to preserve a stagnant status quo.
“You wish I’d died with them; don’t you?” she had said. “You wish you had my decapitated head under your arm, too. Then you’d be free to do what you want.”
The spell had always worked before. Whenever he would say he would sleep in his own room, she would cast the spell and they would be back in her bed that night, her head ironically tucked under his arm. But the night he returned from that date, he did the cruel thing. He went straight to his old room, evicted the broken electronics they had piled on the bed, and slept there, without a word. It just wasn’t fair.
So, now he was coming home with that girl, whispering by the door. They didn’t even stop to explain, but went straight upstairs, leaving the High Street Witch to her sitcoms and the cat. When the footfalls settled upstairs, the cat startled, clawed her legs, and darted to the kitchen, its tail high. As the laugh track on the sitcom guffawed, a lone tear, cast off its faltering orb, careened down the witch’s cheek.