From time to time I have to tell my husband “I don’t want to talk about my family.”
It is easy for him since he has no family outside of me and our kids and my insane group of siblings and assorted relations.
When you’re a vampire the insanity goes on for centuries but the same rules and feelings apply to everyone. Maybe not so much Werewolves since they’re such pack animals. Anyway…
My brother Valentine called me the other day and said that our brother Andrew was acting “funny.” Nothing new there. Andrew, aside from being somewhat flighty and in his own special universe most of the time, is prone to getting himself into both physical and emotional issues that can’t be dealt with alone.
“What is it now?” I asked wanting to just hang up and not even bother. Actually I was wondering where he’d want me to come pick him up and how long it would take of me to get there.
It ends up he was in Reno and had wrecked his car on an isolated mountain road. My situation was for him to take the train and I’d pick him up at the station closest to my house near Sacramento. Trains are great for Vampires. You can either sleep or eat or meet new people. The scenery is always nice through the mountains. Then we can all tell “remember when” stories about when the railroad was built and our dad took us out to see the construction.
Then Andrew calls me and asks if I can pack up the teenagers and drive up to get him. Three hours in the car with two teenagers is always a good time. With mine it is always a good time, but Andrew, please, don’t do this to me.
“Why can’t Val come get you?”
“I want you to come. You’re it darling.”
This is why I can’t get anything done.
I told him where and when to meet me. Andrew can always find something to keep him busy including getting a room at the best hotel to hang out in. Any woman, any man, anybody. So why am I going up there?
Then Aaron (another brother – the really serious responsible one) calls to say that Andrew called and said he was stranded and feared for his life due to a number of reasons and he was suffering from a broken heart and he’d wrecked his car. The layers keep piling on. Aaron says NO WAY is he driving up to get Andrew.
Then my mom calls and asks if I’m getting Andrew. I want to scream at her and scream bad words but I hold my breath and say “of course I’m getting him. Do you think anyone else is going to volunteer?”
Then she tells me how depressed Andy has been and how sensitive he is. She goes on about how next week he is singing Opera in New York and I need to understand… Oh please, give it a rest.
So I take care of work stuff with a few calls. I get the kids who are complaining loudly about the whole deal and end up only taking the 18 year old with me. The other one (15) is doing stuff with friends.
On the way up the mountain my son Garrett and I talk about everything under the stars and moon, then we just listen to music. I think of writing projects I’m working on. I have deadlines. I can’t come up with plots or endings or twists and turns.
The end of the world had come and gone a long time ago. Of course I wouldn’t dare remind Captain Sandy of that extraordinary fact. He stood in the basket of the airship, hands on the control, the tails of his tuxedo jacket blowing in the wind.
When the end of the world came the evil and the damned were gathered up and taken down to Hell. The pure and righteous were led up to Heaven in a golden white light.
That left the artists and writers, along with a lot of musicians, wine makers, computer programmers and antiques dealers. Of course there were others, but nobody that lacked a certain amount of creative or innovative spirit. One must have spirit when the world ends.
It worked for me.
I mean, the world had become way too serious. I adjusted my goggles and facemask as I looked down on the tire fire that had been burning for the past 100 years. Adjusting the leather hood on my cat, I took him out of his basket to take a look. My five year old son Aaron stood on his toes to get a look as I held tight to the back of his jacket. I must have been a sight, boy in one hand, cat in the other.
Life was an adventure to be savored and enjoyed. It was a destroyed world being built up by those with visions of beauty and wonder. Captain Sandy always said this was Heaven. Of course I never told him otherwise. It was Heaven to be in the arms of my husband at night and feel the touch of his skin on mine, that is until I’d run my hand over the deep scars on his back. I called him my fallen angel. He would just laugh and kiss me as only an angel could kiss. Maybe it was Heaven for him since he was now dead, but I will never know unless I die too and find him there.
Once when I was younger my brother and I found some old movies where everyone at the end of the world were driving big trucks and dune buggies as they shot anyone they came across. There were zombies and crazy fucks of all sorts fighting for the last clean water or bits of fuel.
We laughed. That was not our world. Ours was a world to create without hesitation or critical review. Our poets were considered as important as our politicians. Our sense of style always outweighed our sense of practicality.
Captain Sandy asked me what I was thinking that could have me smiling so.
I told him and he just shook his head.
“Life isn’t a theater play like you make it out to be my dear. There are dangerous things out in dark areas of stench and smoke that would enslave us and make us into meals if they could. You’ve been protected in your leather and velvet bustle dresses and fanciful thoughts. It’s a good thing to be ignorant of the world but it is dangerous in ways you can’t imagine.”
“Captain,” I said, “you forget that the shadows took my husband. I take flights of fancy so I won’t fall out of the sky and die of sorrow.”
He turned and gave me a quick smile. Despite the dark pattern of scars on the left side of his face the Captain was still a handsome man with a dazzling smile. All the women were quick to notice him.
“Why are you alone?”
“No wife or children?”
“I had a wife. She vanished when the world ended. I never knew if she went up or down or just vanished to dust. Who knows. The bitch could still be around somewhere.”
“So you’re alone,” I said.
He stepped closer and took me in his arms, his lips against mine, his body heat searing through my dress right down to my bare skin…
Oh fuck, I’ve written myself into a hole again. I swear I can’t come up with anything anymore. I have to come up with an ending and maybe even a plot. What a novel idea (no pun intended.)
Garrett looks over at me. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I tell him.
“Mom, you look so serious.”
“I was thinking about a story. Just ideas. Sorry.”
He turns up the radio and we start singing out loud together to a song by The Killers then we sing to Blink 182, then we put in the Abby Road CD and sing the entire CD until we arrive to the Nevada Museum of Art where Andrew is waiting for us among the Western landscapes.
He said he has dinner for us in his hotel room. Good. Garrett and I are famished. I won’t go into details. Party friends who never knew when they woke up that they’d spent the afternoon with three hungry Vampires.
On the way home, down the mountain, we talked and laughed and actually had a nice relaxing ride.
Anyway, life isn’t all parties in crypts dressed like vintage
Cleevey Stevie Nicks or other nonsense. We take care of each other just like anyone else. We do that even when it isn’t fun.
That said, my brain is still full and as much as I love Andrew, he owes me big time.
Take a deep breath. Remember, you are loved, no matter how busy you are.
Also that you are creative, maybe not this minute, but you’ll get there.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman