Kristen from Wednesdays
Kristen from Wednesdays messages me on Facebook, “Hi sorry if this is weird but I'd love to send you a candle if you're up for sharing a shipping address -Kristen from Wednesdays”. I hardly ever check Facebook, so I see this message almost two entire months later. A lot can happen in the span of two months, and yet, I could still really use a candle from Kristen from Wednesdays. Kristen from Wednesdays is a witch, or so she told me. Her grandmother was a witch, and most of the women in her family are witches too. She says this against the smoky purple haze of her bedroom LED lights, and because of this I always believe what she tells me. One time she told me about a meditation she made up, for when her body feels on the verge of breaking into a million pieces and nothing is a warm blanket, only a cold hard pinched nerve. “I close my eyes”, she said, “and imagine a magical orb of sunshine, beginning at my brain, reheating its chilly sections, then traveling down my body into the tips of my fingers and then through my toes, finally settling into the ground, in between the Earth’s core and its other layers. The orb is always there, for me to harness whenever I need it, and an invisible string connects the orb to me, so that even when I am walking and talking and happy, it is there, in case I sometimes can’t walk or talk or be happy.” She described it a lot more eloquently than my paraphrased version, but I think about the magical orb of sunshine a lot these days.
I don’t know what Kristen from Wednesdays does for a living, but I know she loves baby animals, making crafts, and healing wounds, so I think she would make an amazing veterinarian. I tell her this against my dorm room wall, my Mitski poster and fairy lights and poster of mushroom butts all twinkling at her gently. She smiles, looks down at her cat, the purple LED lights obscuring her eyes. She doesn’t get out much, she tells me, and I nod vigorously and make sure she knows my ears are holding on to every word she says. Sometimes that is all we can do, both on Wednesdays and on other days too. Usually it is too scary, venturing out, she tells me, and I wonder where her magical orb of sunshine is in these moments, the body breaking ones. I bet it is there but not strong enough to defeat the Bad Thing. Which is why she is Kristen from Wednesdays. Because on Wednesdays we talk to each other, from one backdrop to another, about magical orbs and other things that can protect us from the dark. I am not talking about her darkened LED light room. That is the place where Kristen from Wednesdays perhaps feels the lightest, her cat gingerly pawing at her lap, her plants and herbal remedies lining the room, as if to say “we are holding you tightly, and we won’t let you go”. I see all this, Kristen from Wednesdays, I ache to say to her, but instead I nod vigorously and ask her how her candle-making is coming. I imagine her in her bedroom on Thursdays, the LED lights are pale pink this time, and her cat is asleep on her bed as she blends melting wax with jasmine petals, vanilla oil, sage bristles, lavender cloves preserved from the New Hampshire summer, tigerlily, cinnamon, milk and honey, elderflower, rain saved from last night’s storm, and limes from the bowl in her kitchen. The wax, melting, taking on a life of its own as it encounters these trestles from nature. I imagine Kristen from Wednesdays adding a garnish on the hardened wax, a sprinkle of glitter, coffee beans, the flower from a cactus’s birth. The magical orb of sunshine pulsating lightly beneath her feet.
When I look at Kristen from Wednesdays across from me, she is beautiful but doesn’t believe it. She has long brown hair and large hazel eyes, but her face is not open. This makes me want to reach out and touch her shoulder, say “I am so sorry that this is the way things are. That you were once born as a baby untouched by evil, and now you don’t find yourself beautiful enough to be seen in the light.” Instead, when Kristen from Wednesdays says she doesn’t know how anyone could possibly love her when she is so broken, so full of nothing, I say, “I know how. You are a healer, and you care about baby animals and making things for people to enjoy smelling. How could anyone not possibly love you?” She smiles and looks down at her lap, but not in time. Her eyes, large and hazel, twinkle like her LED lights, but not purple. Yellow, like a magical orb of sunshine. “I always look for your face on Wednesdays,” she tells me quietly, and this feels like we are holding hands through the screen.
I haven’t been seeing Kristen from Wednesdays recently, because time and life and pain have gotten in the way. But every Wednesday at 4:00 I imagine her there, face aglow from her computer screen, Sasha the cat in the corner of her arm, the LED lights on, face a little less closed than before. I imagine her small sigh of disappointment when I am not there, and maybe that doesn’t happen, but it still feels nice to imagine. I should go back, I should go back, I should go back. This is the drumbeat that pangs my heart, this is the cat paw that nudges my shoulder in the darkness. But I am scared, and though Kristen is also scared, she wills herself into existence again every Wednesday at 4:00pm, armed with nothing but her candles and her loss. I write back that I would love a candle. Make it something sweet, I say, make it the smell of deep sleep after a long and necessary cry, the smell of newness, the smell of friends dancing at a party purple and yellow, with a little witch’s dust sprinkled on top. I add my address, click send, hope for the best.
Ruthie Zolla is a sophomore at Pitzer who can be found talking on the phone with her grandma about her (nonexistent) love life, doing yoga, and "borrowing" her suitemate Rowan's clothes.