The Witches of Suburbia

>Maggie Nye

The Witches of Suburbia think all women’s bodies are beautiful except their own. They don’t eat that, but you totally can.

They really want to be inclusive, but they don’t know how to find friends who are different from them. Like you can’t just walk up to someone and be like, Hey, I see you’re in a wheelchair, that’s so cool, let’s be friends. It would be mean or something.

The Witches of Suburbia think bodies of color are beautiful, too. Their Radical Witchspace (which they can inhabit anywhere just by flooding it with their energies—like a portable clubhouse of the spirit) is all about inclusivity.

Angie, who is a witch and a literal beacon of love, is trying to atone for her whiteness. She apologized to Naomi—who is a quarter Trinidadian and used to be her best friend when they were way younger—for a time during lunch that Angie remembered, even though Naomi said she didn’t. Apparently Naomi cried to Angie about how she didn’t have any black friends and Angie kind of laughed at her, but now she feels really bad about it because she totally gets it and Naomi was just like Why are you telling me this? What do you want me to say?

The Witches of Suburbia have powers. Seriously. They can do things like: have you ever concentrated super hard on a person you miss and then they text you seemingly out of the blue? They have. Or once there was a mouse on its back in Emma’s room and they made it well again. It ran so fast Jen screamed like a girl in a movie.

And when Jen’s brother dies—they all know he will because he does a lot of drugs and the skin on his hands is coming off—they will bring him back to life. They never say it, but they know this is why they are witches. Plus, witches are awesome.

The Witches of Suburbia have patch parties where they iron on upside-down crosses and daggers and moons to their black rompers. Angie has a 12-pack of vulva patches where each one is different. Vulvas are like fingerprints if fingerprints had clits.

Emma’s brother is a year older and he’s like What the fuck are you wearing? And Emma’s like It’s called radical re-appropriation and he was like I will radically reappropriate your ass if you don’t stop dressing in that weirdo goth shit. Is that a fucking pussy?
But they don’t care. They do what they want sometimes.

The Witches of Suburbia are taking the metro into the city. They’re so jealous of the city witches, but not jealous in a mean way. They’re taking turns with the liquid lipstick tube, which dries into a deep matte plum and settles into the cracks of their lips. Each witch applies the plum stain to the lips of the witch on her left. They like how their mouths look like a matching warning.

Their friend Katie is a city witch now. Katie used to live down the street, but then she moved, and now she’s Katy, and barely even that. She’s turning into KT. She can feel it happening. All of the city witches have names with surprising Ys. The Witches of Suburbia don’t ask why. They feel like they should know already.

The Witches of Suburbia want to molt their names, too, but they can’t think of where the Ys could hide in Emma or Jen or Angie. When Katy puts their hands on her boobs—Lay ‘em on me!—everything feels hot and ready to volcano.

See, she says? They do.

The Witches of Suburbia suspect they will never change big enough to outgrow themselves.

The Witches of Suburbia were certain of their powers before Katy moved away. They could feel each rock calling to them from the ground, magnetized by their feet. Back then they were all very magnetic. When they smiled, which was all the time, they could feel one another’s braces pulling at their own. They used to make up their own spells, too. Simple stuff, but it was good, and it worked. Now they’re not so sure.

Katy has a diva cup, but her city friend, Teryn, has a moon cup because A diva cup? Fuck that. Teryn is 19, and she doesn’t even look human—in a good way. The Witches of Suburbia have scented tampons because they don’t want to know what their insides smell like, but they know not to say that to the city witches. Teryn says tampons are toxic teabags that leach chemicals into your yoni. The Witches of Suburbia are torn between if yoni is a cool name for a vagina or if yoni reminds them too much of Jen’s neighbor because, actually, his name is Yoni.

Back when Katy was Katie, she always wore pads. She used to get these pimple-looking rashes on her inner thighs and when everyone was tanning on Emma’s porch (whatever, they were young), Katie wore shorts even though no one cared. The Witches of Suburbia would never tell this to the city witches, though. They love Katy and they don’t want to embarrass her. They will love her when she’s KT, too, but in an abstract way, like how they try to love justice.

And Skylyr, who would be the head city witch, except that witches don’t have hierarchy, is like Oh, I get it. You’re a witch, therefore moon cup. You’re falling right into their capitalist trap.

And Katy’s like Yeah, plus my cunt is a sun cunt! And then she does a crazy dance and the Witches of Suburbia are dying!

It’s like this: she gyrates her hips in fast maniac circles and walks like a hula-hooping chicken with hands like beaded curtains and soon they’re all doing it. Their hands are everywhere and they’re knocking hips and they didn’t say a spell or anything, but they know they’re doing magic anyway. It’s not even a question.

Maggie Nye is a D.C. writer and a recent writer-in-residence at St. Albans School. Her work has appeared in Pleiades Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, Sundog Lit, Hobart, and elsewhere. Presently, she’s hard at work on a novel about Leo Frank, a golem, and a girl gang. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieNye.

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