Sydney woke to the tantalizing aroma of a fresh baked apple pie. Thanksgiving at last! She didn’t think the past week would ever end. Now the celebration was here, and she had so much to be thankful for. After years of no contact with her grandparents they were now a part of her life. Her friend Rachael had moved but they kept in touch through the Internet. Her dad was better, and Mom wasn’t working as much.
Nana and PopPop arrived yesterday afternoon and Sydney could hear her mother’s laugh and Grandma’s deep chuckle in the kitchen. Bright sunlight streamed in the window.
“Hey, sleepyhead,” Mom said when Sydney walked into the kitchen. A huge turkey rested in a large, oval roasting pan. She pushed a handful of stuffing into the turkey. Grandma sat at the table drinking coffee. Her pencil made a scratchy sound as she filled in little boxes of a crossword puzzle. “What’s a five letter word for unexpected?” she asked.
Mom shoved another handful of stuffing that smelled like onions and chestnut into the bird. Syd’s mouth watered.
“Surprise?” her mom said.
“No, too many letters,” Nana said. “Starts with the letter M.”
Sydney pulled a bowl and a box of cereal from the cupboard then sat down across from her grandmother.
“Magic, maybe?” Nana said.
Sydney tensed. “Magic?” Her voice rose at the end of the word, making it sound like she’d never heard of such a thing. Did her mom or Nana know about magic? That she, Sydney Porter, had that ability?
“Well, it’s certainly unexpected, assuming it exists,” her mom said.
“Of course, it exists,” Nana said and wrote the letters into the five squares. “It fits.”
“You mean like Christmas magic? Or a “magical moment”?” Mom flipped the bird over and tied the legs together.
Nana tucked the pencil behind her ear. “Don’t you remember Naomi? When you were little, you could make flowers bloom and talk with the cat?”
Sydney felt a tingle run up her spine. She could understand all animals and carry on long conversations with them in their own language. “You could do those things, Mom?”
Mom brushed a few strands of hair out of her face. “No. I don’t remember being able to do that” Her voice hesitated, like she was trying to convince herself it hadn’t happened.
“Nonsense. My mother could do things too, magic runs in the family,” Nana said. Sydney’s heart pounded so hard the blood rushing past her ears made it hard to hear. Should she tell them she had magic too? Was now the best time to reveal her secret? Then a thought hit her. Nana said her mom had powers when she was young, but Mom didn’t remember. Did that mean her abilities would disappear too?
“Mother,” her mom said. “You’re exaggerating. Don’t give Sydney ideas.”
Nana lifted her gaze from the puzzle and squinted at Sydney, then smiled. “I haven’t told her anything she doesn’t already know.”
“Did you have magic, Nana?” Sydney asked.
“I can read minds.” The corners of Nana’s lips curled up before she went back to her crossword.
Sydney’s eyes widened despite her effort to show no emotion. If her Nana knew her thoughts, then she’d already know what Syd could do. The metal roasting pan screeched as her mom slid the turkey into the oven. Sydney couldn’t tear her gaze away from her Grandmother. She leaned across the table toward her.
“You know?” Sydney whispered.
Nana nodded, so slight only she and Sydney saw.
“Your secret is safe,” Nana whispered back, never looking up. Sydney sat back and breathed out a long, slow breath.
“El Paso de …., six letters,” Nana read out.
Sydney stood and walked her dishes to the sink. Someday she’d tell her mother. But not today. Today she was thankful for her family and her magic.
I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. As difficult as this year has been, there are always things I’m grateful for. My family, friends, readers, dogs, the beautiful Central Coast, wine, cheese, camping, fresh tomatoes off the vine and my health. Take some time this holiday season to make a list of the things you are grateful for.
You can read Sydney’s entire adventure with magic in Sydney Porter: Dog Girl. Available this holiday season at a 20% discount. CLICK HERE to buy NOW!