Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Author:Alice Hoffman
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Publisher: Penguin USA, Inc.
Published: 2012-03-10T02:39:01+00:00


ALWAYS keep mint on your windowsill in August, to ensure that buzzing flies will stay outside, where they belong. Don’t think the summer is over, even when roses droop and turn brown and the stars shift position in the sky. Never presume August is a safe or reliable time of the year. It is the season of reversals, when the birds no longer sing in the morning and the evenings are made up of equal parts golden light and black clouds. The rock-solid and the tenuous can easily exchange places until everything you know can be questioned and put into doubt.

On especially hot days, when you’d like to murder whoever crosses you, or at least give him a good slap, drink lemonade instead. Go out and buy a first-rate ceiling fan. Make certain never to step on one of the crickets that may have taken refuge in a dark corner of your living room, or your luck will change for the worse. Avoid men who call you Baby, and women who have no friends, and dogs that scratch at their bellies and refuse to lie down at your feet. Wear dark glasses; bathe with lavender oil and cool, fresh water. Seek shelter from the sun at noon.

It is Gideon Barnes’s intention to ignore August completely and sleep for four weeks, refusing to wake up until September, when life is settled and school has already begun. But less than a week into this difficult month, his mother informs him that she’s getting married, to some guy Gideon has been only dimly aware of.

They’ll be moving several miles down the Turnpike, which means that Gideon will be going to a new school, along with the three new siblings he’ll meet at a dinner his mother is giving next weekend. Afraid of what her son’s reaction might be, Jeannie Barnes has put this announcement off for some time, but now that she’s told him, Gideon only nods. He thinks it over while his mother nervously waits for a response, and finally he says, “Great, Mom. I’m happy for you.”

Jeannie Barnes can’t believe she’s heard correctly, but she doesn’t have time to ask Gideon to repeat himself, because he ducks into his room and thirty seconds later he’s gone. He’s out of there, pronto, just as he’s going to be in five years, only then it will be for real. Then he’ll be at Berkeley or UCLA, instead of racing down the Turnpike, desperate to be gone. He’s driven by instinct; there’s no need to think, because inside he knows where he wants to be. He arrives at Kylie’s house less than ten minutes later, drenched with sweat, and finds her sitting on an old Indian bedspread under the crab apple tree, drinking a glass of iced tea. They haven’t seen each other since Kylie’s birthday, yet when Gideon looks at her she is unbelievably familiar. The arch of her neck, her shoulders, her lips, the shape of her hands, Gideon sees all this and his throat goes dry.


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