The Witch's Mask

I am supposed to be covered in warts or boils. My gnarly fingers and yellowing teeth should be hidden by dresses of the latest fashion or through enchantment. I am supposed to be as bitter as the Wicked Witch of the West or as jealous and angry as Maleficent when she curses Sleeping Beauty. In short, I am a step-mother and must play by the antiquated, written and unwritten rules.

I don't want to do that. I want to step outside of all the stereotypes. Yet, no one has paved the way for me it seems. I'll never have children from my own womb, so I ask myself: "How do I mother two teenagers without trying to be their mother?"

I lure them in with homemade meals and fresh-baked cookies. I buy them their favorite sodas and fill their bellies full of potato chips in hopes of filling their heads and hearts with good thoughts. They seem to be very pleased with this new arrangement. I even get "I love yous" and hugs as they enter our apartment on visitation weekends. Yet, I am still on script. Potato chips, sodas, baked goods are simply the newest forms of the poisoned apple.

Will they ever know that I have cried myself to sleep whenever I feel too deeply about their teenage angst and think too hard about the tolls divorce has taken on their psyches? Will they ever know that I look at them when they're not looking in hopes of catching a glimpse of myself even though my blood and DNA do not course through their veins?

I cannot fathom losing them to the world without first imparting some of my gained wisdom and knowledge. I don't want to be the old crone that looks through a magic mirror and sees them living a life I wish I could do over again. So, instead, I get brave and impart my maternal instincts through a hidden tracking device of baked cookies and casseroles. Laughter, love, empathy, and compassion are the elements that go into my newest potion. 

I pray that one day they realize I was just trying to rewrite those god-awful fairy tales they've been fed.

 

Charlotte, NC

Megan is a writer, artist, and instructor in Charlotte, North Carolina. She writes creative nonfiction and loves to infuse her artwork with original lines of poetry. She's working on putting together a new website, but in the meantime you can find her at magpiewrites.com