How lucky am I? I stare at her from across the table, transfixed on her perfectly symmetrical face. She eats her lunch in silence, even with the commotion of the Anderson High student body surrounding her.
She was the pure definition of gorgeous, and just about every guy at Anderson knew it, throwing risqué comments at her with no shame. How in the world did she fall for a guy like me?
“Tony, I’m sorry, but this isn’t going to work out anymore. I need to see other people. We just aren’t clicking.”
An old Japanese woman looks off the shore of Hiroshima and sees the nuke drop. That’s the only way I can describe this.
She gets up to leave and I reach for her arm.
“Babe…” I say, hoping she will look in my eyes, and reassure me this is a joke.
“Not anymore, Tony,” She mutters, not giving me a second glance.
This was not right. 3 weeks we’d been together. She was the love of my life. We were in 10th grade, but we still could’ve gotten married, right???
Denial built up in my brain that night, like a growing virus. She just wanted a break and then she will come back, I thought. What if she doesn’t? I need to find a way to get her to come back. My thoughts wander, exploring options. Serenade her at her house? No. Flowers and chocolate? No.. It would take literal magic for her to come back to me. Magic. Aunt Geraldine. That was it, my only option.
Aunt Geraldine was the ugly duckling of our family. My parents and grandparents had disowned her years ago, but I never did. Even though she had started practicing the occult, I had a deep respect for her ambition. She definitely had a spell or some **** that could get Valerie back to me.
That night, I made my way to her house, catching a bus to the quaint town she lived in, in upper Wisconsin. A variety of trees passed by as the bus turned onto a dirt path leading to the outskirts of the town. I saw abandoned cabins made of rotting wood. The walk to her house was no picnic; barking dogs, broken glass in the middle of the road, and a foul odor all showed me that no wonder my aunt lives in this hellhole. It was probably as cheap as real estate can get.
Aunt Geraldine opened the door right as I walked up the wood steps.
“I had a vision you were coming, Tony Baloney. Come inside, I have just what you need She lead me down downstairs.
Spellbooks, bottles of unidentifiable liquids, body parts of unknown animals in jars, and a crystal ball ordained her basement.
“I know why you are here, Tony”, she said. “ You wish to mend your broken relationship with that pretty girl.”
“Yes!” I quickly responded. “She is my everything.”
“How naïve,” I hear her barely mutter. I’m not naïve. I’m trying to get back together with my soul mate. I’m 16, but I know what I know.
“I need to convince her to love me again,” I explain.
She looks deep in thought, and then a realization arises.
“You don’t need to convince her. You need to control her,” she says. What she says is compelling and I nod in approval.
She motions for me to follow her to a table. It has a ragdoll laying on it, but when I flip it over, I reel back in shock. The resemblance is uncanny. It’s Valerie, in doll form.
I don’t question her. I’m up for anything to get Valerie back. I let my aunt explain.
“Have you ever heard of voodoo dolls? Well this a version of that. Once completed, you can compel Valerie to do anything using that doll.”
“What do you mean, when it’s completed?” I ask, confused.
“In order for you to be the controller, you need to draw the final detail. On others, it might be a signature nail polish design, or a birthmark, but Valerie has something very unique as I’ve seen in my visions. Her tattoo.”
She was right. Valerie’s tattoo was very unique. It was a heart with her late brother’s name in it: Pete. Circling the heart was a ring of fire, expressing the fiery rage her brother had when competing in the special Olympics. She was very close to Pete, and through his struggles with down syndrome she was by his side, helping him train for his races, joining in with that fiery attitude.
I drew the heart not thinking about any of these things. All I thought about was the opportunity I was now being given. Valerie didn’t deserve this, and Pete didn’t deserve this disrespect. I finished my drawing as my inner conscious pushed those thoughts to the trashcan in the back of my brain. Oh, what people do for love.
On the other side of Wisconsin, Valerie sat at a restaurant with an actual good human being.He was polite and didn’t stare at her. He for sure did not perform voodoo witch magic that night to gain her love. So as Valerie stood up, eyes glazed over, muttering the words “I love Tony”, polite Scott stared in horror. Her tattoo on her upper arm glowed a dark purple. Valerie walked out the door in a zombie-like fashion, being pulled by metaphorical puppet strings towards Aunt Geraldine’s house where she would reunite with Tony.
She never made it.
She was struck by a car that night, under the influence of Tony’s spell.
She didn’t die immediately and suffered for thirty minutes till the ambulance came.
She died later that night, still under the influence, still muttering “I love Tony”.
Tony Santino sat in his Aunt’s basement in shock.
Aunt Geraldine sat back and gave a little smirk. Foolish, naïve boy, she thought. She knew all along this would happen. It’s amazing what people will do for love.