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Strange Worlds

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This world is... strange and incomprehensible. No matter how many questions she asks or books she reads some things never get any clearer.


A humming bird flies in a figure eight pattern, the colors in the sunset are caused by the scattering of light, and a whale’s heart is about the size of a car.

Cats are mammals and social creatures, though most people are wrong and think they like to be on there own.


But nothing and no one will explain:


Why the other children don’t want to play with me - except to play pretend at being friends.

Why the teachers knock their fists against my desk when I’m reading, and not when other children do it. Why they snap their fingers in front of my face and suspend me from recess. Why they think this is a punishment. And why they talk to me so mean when they’re so nice to the others.

Why I’m special like this.


And why I’m special like how Matilda is special. Why the other kid’s aren’t special like that.

Why the cat does what I ask her to. And why my parents react like that when I tell. Don’t they believe me? I can show them…


Why the lights are always so bright and buzzing.

Why the sky is somethings so blue it almost hurts. No, I know why the sky is blue, but why does it hurt?


She’s eleven and an owl gives her a letter. She has to tell the cat to go inside before it will rest next to her in the garden, the envelope in it’s beak.



It flutters off as soon as she takes what’s hers. “Oh. Okay then. Good bye.”


She doesn’t tell her parents about it, just sits, surrounded by the weeds, reading and learning.


Witch craft and wizardry.

Witch craft.



Witches aren’t real.

Except apparently they are.


Witches are green with big crooked noses and lots and lots of worts.

Except, apparently, they aren’t. Because she’s a witch, and she’s not green. (She looks in the mirror, just to be sure, just as black as ever.)


Witches are evil.

She’s never understood that, so maybe it’s wrong too.


Witches cast spells and do magic.



Nothing happens.


“2, 8, 20, 50, 82, 126.”

Nothing happens.


The cat wonders back over.

“Am I a witch?”

The cat blinks at her.

“I don’t think it’s a joke. I don’t see how it would be funny. Maybe it’s a mean jokes. Other people think mean jokes are funny.”

The cat settles to groom itself by her feet.

“Hmm. Magic. Magic. Maaa-gic. Mmmmaaagic! I don’t feel like I’m magic.”

She gives the letter to her parents and lets them puzzle over it.


There’s a whole nother world.

Her parents let her pick out two books that aren’t on her reading list, hoping to tide her over until September 1 st , hoping this Hogwarts has a library. A big enough library.

She picks an anthology and a history. She knows it won’t be nearly enough, that the other students who knew they were magic will their whole little life time to draw from, that they had these new books far longer than she did.

She doesn’t pack her old books. Not the ones about science, or history, or Nancy Drew. Not Charlotte's Web. Not even Narnia.

It’s a new world after all, and she’s learned all she can from the old one and it’s old books.

She also leaves the cat at home because it’s too old to be coming with her. And she’s worried about having to take care of it all on her own.

“Look after mom and dad for me while I’m gone, Kay?” She whispers to it when they bundle her trunk into the car.

From one unknown to another. From one unknown to another. 

She chants to herself as he parents drive her to the train station. Except, in this next unknown their will be people like her. Everyone will be like her. Everyone will float books and ink pens and play the piano without touching it. Everyone will know that the lights buzz like a humming bird's wings and that sometimes sounds and the sky hurt. And maybe she will even have friends, real friends, not just the kind that say they’re your friend and then call you names behind your back.

She swings her legs back and forth so exuberantly she almost propels herself out of her seat.  


She thinks at first she’s right, about everyone being like her. The magic, the castle…

The candles, everyone in their black and billowing robes…

It’s the explosion at breakfast “eye of rabbit, heart string strung, turn this water into rum!” that shows her she’s wrong.Privately she had been thinking that those string of words were likely to be as effective as her own set of magic numbers or Ron’s sunshine daises butter mellow, turn this stupid, fat rat yellow spell, and why did he want rum anyway? When their was a blast and a cloud of smoke.

Only other first years startled, and none so bad as her. It didn’t seem to disturb the older students in the least. One, in fact, was still asleep with her emptied plate pushed out in front of her. 


It’s a strange new world, no more comprehensible then the old one.

And she learns that she’s hated here too. Again, for things like heritage and blood. So… it’s not such a new world after all, then.

At least this time she’s not alone. It takes a mountain troll, but she thinks, maybe she has friends. And the teacher’s don’t knock on her desk and most of them are so very pleased she’s so very smart. She earns points. She’s praised. It doesn’t quite feel like home but it’s close. It’s getting there.

And… well, the best thing about a new world is that there’s so much more to learn. And the library is huge.