I am taking time out from studying to work on an article for Hip Mama, enjoying a peppermint hot chocolate at the cafe, when suddenly my Muse sits at my table across from me.
"I like your haikus," she says.
Staring at her, my hands frozen above my keyboard, I'm not sure if she's really here or a just needy figment of my imagination. "Thanks," I finally squeak.
She grabs my hot chocolate and takes a sip. "You do know of course, that you can get a peppermint hot chocolate any time of the year."
"Then why do you insist on only drinking it during the holidays?"
"It's a tradition. And if I drank it all the time, it wouldn't be special. "
Nodding, she takes another sip. "I suppose that's true."
"Why are you here?" I finally ask. "I thought you were mad at me."
With a dismissive wave of her hand, she says, "Please. I was frustrated, that's all. I've had time to think and I've come to the realization that you're right. This is a temporary writing freeze, nothing more. You must focus on school and finish what you started, and not only finish, but finish well. Once you have a day job and a regular schedule you'll be so hungry for creative endeavors you won't be able to NOT write. I can wait."
"I'm glad you understand."
"I'm practical to a fault." She leans across the table and meets my eyes. "I have fabulous ideas brewing already, just waiting for the right moment."
"I know. Even when you were mad at me you were sending images about my next play."
She laughs. "Isn't it wonderful. It will be your greatest work. When is Script-Frenzy, by the way?"
"Then you'd better finish school by then, because I will be hounding you day and night until that play is written."
She drinks more of my hot chocolate, her snakes leaning close to the cup to catch the scent of peppermint. "This really is quite delicious."
"Want your own?"
"No. I'll just drink yours." She laughs again and the snakes hiss happily.
I watch my fearsome muse lick sticky chocolate off her fangs, her pale green eyes sparkling. Then I say, "I'm glad you're back."
"I never left."
"I wasn't sure."
"I will never leave you, Terena, although you may someday wish I would. Because ultimately you have no choice. You will either have to keep writing, or go mad."
Taking back my drink from her clawed, beautiful hands, I raise the cup to her. "Then here's to madly writing."
"Happy Thanksgiving," she says.