The Cold Saga continues with one of the worst nights of sleep I’ve ever had put behind me. I was up and down through most of the night until about two forty-five, and then I just seemed to lay on the bed in a stupor until the alarm went off at five-fifteen. All of this means getting through today is gonna suck, and I’ll be lucky not to nod off at least once or twice while fighting throughout the day to stay awake.
On top of all that I feel the cough coming on, which my body seems to wants in a bad way, and I really don’t want that because chest congestion takes its good, sweet time getting out of my body, and I’d rather avoid that since I just got over a cold two months ago. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I don’t have the same thing happen this time.
But that’s for another time and place. For the moment were back in Salem in March, 2013. And it’s getting real.
I managed to write a lot more than I expected: a little more than double from the night before. It was actually one thousand, one hundred, and eleven words: 1, 111. And it was all about something that only a few people have seen in print: Kerry’s E and A. He’s the only one who knows it, and before a few moments earlier he couldn’t discuss the matter. Now he can, and while this doesn’t go into the same details as the E and A from the first novel, you get the idea. In fact, you get a bit more than what happened in his E and A . . .
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry waited for everyone standing around the sofa to return to their chairs before telling his story. “When I did my E and A it started pretty normal, then The Phoenix brought up my relationship with my mother, which . . .” He glanced over to Annie. “Isn’t all that good. Annie knows what I mean; she heard about a few things that happened over the summer.
“Anyway, we eventually ended up back at my old house in California. She kept going on and on about my relationship with my mother, and how a lot it was bad ‘cause—” A pained look crossed Kerry’s face. “I’m sorry, I’ve never told anyone about this; even Annie doesn’t know some of this stuff.”
“It’s okay, Kerry.” Erywin slid to the edge of her chair as her tone became soft and warm. “You’re with friends, people who love you. No one is going to judge or think less of you.”
He closed his eyes and nodded. “I know.” He looked around the room as he spoke, though he didn’t meet anyone’s direct gaze. “My mother used to make it clear that she was disappointed she didn’t have a girl. She used to take jabs at me all the time. Whenever my hair started growing out it’d get curly, and she’s say it was so pretty that it was wasted on me, that it should have been a girl’s hair. I have long eyelashes, and she’d tell me that girls would kill for eyelashes like mine. A couple of years ago, when kids at school started having trouble with their skin, mine stayed clear, and she’d comment about how girls would love to have skin like mine and it wasn’t fair that all I ever did was wash my face and nothing else.
“The worst, though—” He glanced upward as he sighed heavily. “There were a few times when she came right out and told me that she was sorry she didn’t have a girl, that I was ‘too complicated’ and that if I’d been girl she could relate to me better.” He looked upward again as his eyes began to mist over. “Once she even told me that she was sorry she had me, and it would have been better if I hadn’t been born.”
Everyone in the room fell silent while Kerry leaned into Annie, who wrapped her arm around his shoulders and held him tight. She whispered something to him, words only they could hear, and ever few seconds he’d nod and sigh, only sniffing back a few tears near the end. Annie kissed his cheek as she sat up and returned to this story. “The Phoenix knew this—” He saw her toss her head back-and-forth in a playful way. “—and as we got into the discussion, she—” There was a second or two of throat clearing. “She changed me. She showed me what I would have looked like had I been the girl my mother wanted. I saw my reflection in the window of our kitchen, and—” He chuckled for the first time since entering the library. “I was that girl from my rune dream, the one who showed up in these dreams.”
I have stated on many occasions that a lot of the things that happened to Kerry happened to me, including shit my mom told me. But everything Kerry mentions in the forth and fifth paragraphs of the preceding except I heard from my mother. All those things, even once being told that there were times she wished she hadn’t had me. Now, while she actually didn’t come out and say if I’d been a girl she could relate to me better, but more than a few times she said if I were “more like your sister” it would be easier, because then she’d only have to deal with two girls in the house.
But all the stuff about my hair, my eyelashes, my skin–that went on well into my late teen years. It was really bothersome to hear those things, too, given I was already going through gender dysmorphia and every time I’d hear that shit I’d want to scream out about how I wished it were true, too.
Now, does this mean Kerry has gender dysmorphia as well? No, it doesn’t. He’s just heard the same crap I heard. And near the end of the E and A he made his decision:
Erywin smiled back, hoping to keep Kerry in an upbeat mood. “What happened after that? After she changed you?”
“Ah, well—” Kerry began to come down a little from his current high, but not down to the levels of sadness he showed at the beginning of his tale. “She—The Phoenix—she said she could go back in time and fix it so I’d had been born that way, that things could then maybe be better with my mother, and that after I left the E and A no one would ever know I’d ever been Kerry: I’d be someone else—I guess whatever name my mother would have given me if I’d been a girl.” He lay his head towards his right shoulder. “Obviously I didn’t do that.”
“Why didn’t you?” Annie retook his hand, which she’d released when she’d hugged him moments before. “Why didn’t you change?”
He turned to his soul mate. “Because of you, Annie.” The smile began returning to his face, touched with just a hint of sadness. “Even though I didn’t know everything about you at that moment I knew I’d made a friend in you, and I didn’t want to lose that. I knew if I changed I could lose you, and everything—” Tears began leaking slowly down his cheeks. “—everything we’d done the week before, and all the stuff we might do in the weeks to come—” He lowered his head as he sobbed a couple of times. “It would never happen. And I didn’t want that at all.”
Of all the people in the room, it was Annie who appeared the most surprised. The shocked look on her face remained in place for nearly fifteen second as she carefully regarded the boy who meant so much to her before she turned to look at the spirit watching his confession in silence.
The Phoenix didn’t need to hear Annie’s question, for she saw it on the girl’s face. “I never pushed him one way or another: the final decision was all his.”
She turned back to Kerry blinking the last of the tears from his eyes. “Please, my love—” She threw her arm around him and whispered in his ear. “Hold me: I don’t want to faint in front of everyone.”
“Don’t worry, Darling.” He placed his arms around her and pulled her close. “I won’t let you fall.” He looked up at The Phoenix. “Was it because of this I couldn’t tell anyone about my dreams?”
Imagine you’re a thirteen year old girl witch, and you just heard your boyfriend say that he chose to remain as himself because after a week with you, he’d rather keep you as a friend instead of maybe finding happiness with his family. We know Annie gets those moments where the emotions overwhelm her and she grows light-headed and even faints now and then, and this is one of those moments. Kerry chose her over his family, over his mother, and Fainting Time is right there with Annie. And this was before he remembered everything about Annie, so . . . they’ll discuss this matter later, but Kerry decided, in front of a powerful spirit, and Annie was really the most important thing in his life, and he wasn’t letting it go.
Kerry brings up the question that leads us to an answer about why he couldn’t tell anyone what was happening to him. And The Phoenix does have the answer–
She regarded him coldly. “Yes. You’ve already figured out in the last year and a half since our talk, there are parts of the E and A that you can remember and mention—”
“Like the part about making new chapters.”
“Yes. There are always little fragments of our talk that remain with you, but the E and A as a whole is a foggy memory, and there are some parts that are just impossible to recall. Like your transformation: that was one of those things I didn’t want you to remember and discuss, because I was afraid you’d obsess over what had happened to you. And I couldn’t have that.” She shrugged. “But I thought that because of what was happening with you now, you’d somehow break through the blocks I’d put in place, much like you broke through the blocks you put around your own memories.” She shook her head. “Like I said, I’m not always right.”
“But what is going on with me?” Annie leaned against him as he turned to the adults in the room. “What do you know?”
Now we know what happened in that meeting, and we know why Kerry was unable to talk about it completely. What remains is the final question–
What the hell is happening to him?