I’ve mentioned my mom several times so far, but I’ve really never written much about her and what she was really like.
Both of my parents were a bit of a mystery to me as I was growing up. I didn’t know a lot about their lives before I was born, and this void of knowledge created a vacuum that I filled with all kinds of fantastical scenarios—none of which got me any closer to knowing their real story.
What I did know was that my father was a Magician, and I was being trained to follow in his magic, and that my mom was a Traveler, and that the traditions of the Tribe were being passed on to my younger sister Poppy.
Thus, a great deal about what I gleaned about my mother’s traditions came—not from direct experience—but from things that Poppy passed along to me.
Her selective revelations left a great deal unsaid.
Take the clockwork creatures that inhabited the Gypsy Groves. For years, I thought they were exactly what they appeared to be—elaborately enameled forms enlivened by magical gems.
This was the Travelers’ magic.
They could cast the illusion of life on entities made of gears and grease.
This was also their subterfuge.
My mother excelled at this sly craft—as did my sister.
I can’t recount the hours I spent entranced at the antics of the enameled birds that my sister created as they flitted amongst the thorny shrubs surrounding my mom’s tea shop. Or, how many times I caught sight as one of her bejeweled beasts gave chase to any real animal that dared to cross its path.
Sometimes, as I was glancing away, I could swear I saw a flickering flame where the creature’s heart would be. At other times, it seemed as if the creature itself were cloaked in a ghostly light.
These sightings never lasted long.
My sister, if she happened to be around when I awoke from one of these reveries, always seemed to have a smile playing upon her face as if she knew she had fooled me—yet again.
I didn’t realize that I was fooling myself, failing to see what was so obviously there.
I think there are always moments when we’re too busy, scattered or distracted to sense what’s happening right in front of us.
Looking back, I could have asked questions, but I was busy with my own creations, and so I missed what was being created around me—by others—everyday.
This is what protects the Travelers. People are drawn to them for the peace, love and good feelings they impart.
Some, like me, will eventually know that there is more to their lives than rustic living, gypsy wagons and traditions.
Of course, this knowledge isn’t out in the open. It has to be sought out, pursued and won.
You might be wondering what I discovered about the clockwork creatures and the magic that made them so alluringly alive, but that information isn’t mine to share.
Just be assured that it is there—if you know where to look.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures