Jenna sat by the window of her new, old bedroom in her grandmother’s house. Two fat tears hovered on her eyelids, then rolled down her cheeks. Her parents had moved into the house soon after she died, and those tears were not just over Oma’s death (her presence still lingered over the house), but also over the big change that came with the big move.
Jenna missed the many friends she left behind in her old town and regretted her status as the new girl. She had not yet found her footing and her place at her new school.
“Kids are meaner here,” she told Mom, “they pull away as soon as they find out I’m related to Oma. It’s not like Hexer is a common name around here, I can’t deny my relation.”
Mom sighed, “I’m sorry, honey, but we had to move after the company downsized and let Dad go.”
“I know, Mom,” Jenna replied, and curled her lip over her braces, a gesture now so common Mom wondered if it would stay after the braces came off Jenna’s teeth.
“But why do they hate Oma? They say she’s a jinx.”
“Because she was German, and lonely, and never spoke English well, so people never understood her. They saw a war bride, someone who used your grandpa as a ticket out of poverty and misery. To them, she was an enchantress who charmed her way into his life and his money.”
“But that’s not true,” Jenna exclaimed, “they loved one another, didn’t they?”
“Oh yes, they loved each other very much,” Mom answered, “but people only see what they want to see. We know she was loving and kind, but no one here gave her a chance.”
A lump lodged in Jenna’s throat, “I miss her. I miss her stories.”
“Sure, she used to tell me stories all the time.”
Dad spoke German to Jenna, and it facilitated the relationship between Jenna and Oma. It made Mom grateful to know Jenna had been emotionally close—if not physically—to her only grandmother, having grown up never knowing her own grandparents herself.
“What stories did she tell you?”
“She loved to talk about her childhood, her town, and her family. She spoke about the big family gatherings, and the dance halls,” Jenna’s eyes sparkled, then darkened a little when she continued, “although these last few years, she would tell me about witches convening on Walpurgisnacht. She said she saw them through her window, dancing in the moonlight.”
Mom pursed her lips at Jenna’s last remark, “Remember, Oma had senile dementia for a long time, so you should take her stories with a grain of salt.”
Jenna smiled and nodded, and returned to her room to sit by the window and watch the night fall over the meadow behind the house. She opened the window and let the spring breeze waft through the room. The stars winked at her as they appeared one by one, and the moon rose above the treetops, casting its cool glow over the meadow as it bid farewell to April with full pomp and circumstance.
“Why are you crying?” Oma’s voice floated through Jenna’s mind.
“Because I miss you, Omi,” Jenna said, and the wind rustled through the trees.
“I am here,” Oma’s whisper swept through the meadow, borne on the wind puffing through the tall grass.
Whirlwinds of leaves blew across the silvery moonlight. Mist descended from the mountain and billowed through the forest and into the meadow like long and slender will-o’-the-wisps twirling and swaying to the melody of the gusting, fragrant wind.
The moonlight caught the mist-tendrils and shone on them with an eerie, yet playful, glow. They might have been graceful girls dancing naked in the moonlight.
Jenna smiled; Oma’s witches on Walpurgisnacht.