Early this morning there was an unexpected knock on my door. I say unexpected because my entire family is otherwise engaged this weekend leaving me alone.
My neighbor and friend Kelly stood there with a smile on her pretty face. I smiled back (minus my fangs). She handed me a cup of coffee with a lid on it and said “We’re going to the farmer’s market. Yes, you’re coming with me. Teddy said you were all alone this weekend.”
Damn you Teddy, my loving husband who always manages to interfere with my brooding.
After slathering on spf 4000 sunscreen and grabbing a straw hat and a few reusable bags, Kelly and I headed off to the Certified Organic Farmer’s Market.
Music was in the air in the middle of the booths as an attractive couple played folk songs from the 1960’s on guitars and sang. I could smell the fresh peaches, greens, squash and dozens of other organic “farm to table” treats. I am getting tired of the term “farm-to-table” but this is the real deal we have here. I picked up a rare treat of sage cheddar cheese, huge bunches of kale and chard and a bag of nectarines. The lavender guy was out so I filled a bag with scented oils and sachets. I also got a huge bouquet of summer flowers. Later in the summer there will be more peppers and tomatoes but I did find some huge heirloom tomatoes in a green and deep burgundy color.
I don’t eat much solid food but when I do I make sure it is lovely. But I can guarantee you that there is nothing more out of place than a Vampire strolling through produce stalls on a summer morning.
Kelly mentioned with a smile how dark my glasses had turned in the sun. She knows that my entire family has extreme sun sensitivity issues to different degrees. But we can’t shut ourselves off from the world if we’re to be part of it – plus the vibes from this place is always so good. I might be a Vampire but I’m not opposed to good vibrations on a California summer morning.
After leaving we stopped by The Morning Crow, a small earthy crunchy organic coffee roaster. Their sign features the sun coming up but not with a rooster, but a large black crow. Nevermore is never said here because it is always lovely. Kelly and I lingered over iced coffee in a well air-conditioned shop while sitting on an oversized couch. New age music played in the background. When others try to do this sort of motif it gets annoying but today I was feeling it.
I was almost feeling human when Kelly said, “I know this sounds weird, but sometimes I feel like I have a ghost in my house.”
I gave her a “please go on” calm look but I knew sooner or later she’d figure it out. My ghost, Nigel, THE GHOST was really Kelly’s ghost. He lingered watching over her and her family but never make himself known. She told me of feeling like she was being watched or feeling the presence of someone she’d known who’d died. Considering that it seems like everyone around Kelly has an untimely death she could spend decades guessing who the ghost is.
I told her I was opened minded about ghosts but gave no additional details.
From there we made a quick stop to help out Kelly’s mother. She had broken her arm so Kelly was helping her wash her hair.
The intimate details of human life seem so fragile to me. The way Kelly French braided her mother’s iron gray hair into a beautiful intricate pattern mesmerized me. I thought of memories long ago of women with intricate braids and curls (not all their own) going to parties with gas lights and laughing behind fans. I snapped out of my revelry when Kelly’s mother, Lois, said “You never seem to age Juliette.”
I mumbled something about sunscreen.
Then Lois said, “You reminds me of someone I used to know. He’d be ancient now, but you look so much like him. You have the same eyes. Deep like the color of the sea. It is as if I can see down to your very soul. Such eyes. His name was Val.”
Before I could say anything Kelly said, “Juliette has a brother named Val.”
It is a small world indeed that someone who knew my brother in 1950 would mention now how much I look like him. We all figured it must have been an uncle of mine. I’m quick with answers for those who recognize us but don’t know exactly why.
Lois took my hand in hers. “Your hands are cold like mine, but not all twisted with arthritis. I hope neither one of you get it. There was something timeless about your uncle. You should tell your brother to come see me.” Then she winked giving me one of those all-knowing smiles. Holy shit.
I volunteered to wash dishes for Lois while Kelly spoke with her about medical issues and family concerns. It made me think of a lot of things.
Then they asked me about my parents and if they were still alive. Of course, living in San Francisco near two of my brothers. How time passes and even in human years so much happens. We live so many different lives in just a short time. It is the people who come and go out of our lives and those little things that twist and turn it all around and upside down over and over and over again.
While the news stations rage on about war and violence and horrible things, I see something else in humans. I see a great capacity for love and caring. I see tenderness. I see goodness and hope. I see a lot of humor and more joy. Mostly love. They are so full of love. One wouldn’t think that but they are.
As we arrived home my cats ran over to greet us. One ran up a tree while the other rolled in the dirt and sang a song of cats that begged for someone to pet his tummy.
By then I was fried but it was worth it, to get me out of the dark, even if being in the dark is my natural state.
Going out to my back deck I looked into the oak forest for signs of The Ghost. He was nowhere to be found. Maybe another day, maybe tonight. I never know with him.
The sound of elephants stomping came from the front porch as my son Garrett and his friend Randy came almost crashing through the front door laughing – as always. It is good to be 18, especially if you’re a young Vampire – even if the sun is shining and you feel like you have heat stroke.
I said “Group hug,” and that is exactly what I got.
It is going to be a long hot summer, but like all experienced Vampires, I’ll survive the heat and I think enjoy every minute of it, thanks to my friends. Well, that and air conditioning and really good black-out shades.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman