On the edge of the Sandia Mountains, My friends Amelia her husband Raul and I drove down the gravel road to the home of Ximena, an ancient woman who mostly lived in solitude with the company of the birds and the wind.
Ximena’s home was a large old adobe structure rimmed with bells and bushes of purple flowers. She greeted us at the door, as always wearing a long colorful skirt. Her black hair flowed down her back almost to her knees. Dark eyes smiled at us in a welcome greeting, as did her fangs. She is almost as ancient as Tellias and Eleora, and like them Ximena looks like a young college girl.
We came into the main room. Walls lined with books and crystals flanked part of the room with windows on the other side looking towards the mountains. We could smell the dried chiles rastas hanging in the kitchen. A red shouldered hawk perched on a wooden chair. It called out when it saw us.
“Maria, you still sing so sweetly,” I said to the bird. She gave me a cold stair then allowed me to pet her feathered head.
Maria the hawk had been around since I was a young woman, more than a hundred years. I wondered at times how she could live so long, then I stopped wondering and chalked it up to magic, love or pure mystery. It is what it is. That is how things work here in the land of magic.
A youngish man with dark hair and eyes like Ximena, but pale skin, came into the room. He was introduced to us as Kyle. But he wasn’t like us. I could feel his warmth as soon as he walked into the room.
Kyle was a man of many talents. He was a photographer, a teacher, a writer, an engineer and apparently a lover. After talking over wine and a light diner we also discovered Ximena’s young friend was also extremely opened minded.
He was also a young widow. One night left him alone with his dreams dead, but he kept going and kept at least a portion of the dreams and spark alive.
While Raul, Amelia and Ximena went to a back room to examine some old maps or something, Kyle and I went out to the porch. Bats flew about as the sounds of the bells filled the air.
Kyle asks me about my husband Teddy. I smiled shyly and told him how we’d met as kids and fallen in love a hundred years later. I think I’d always been in love with my husband on some level.
Then Kyle spoke of his lost love. “After Kayla, my wife, passed away everyone kept asking me if I’d go back. Over and over they’d ask the old what if question. You know, you can’t go back. I can’t bring her back. I will never forget her. She is part of me, but I live in the world of the living.”
“No ghost?” I had to ask (always thinking of obnoxious Nigel)
“Only a Vampire in the Southwest would ask that,” Kyle answered with a knowing smile.
“A Vampire anywhere would ask that. Don’t get me started on the ghosts I see all the time.”
“No ghost. Kayla moved on the night she died. That is a good thing.”
“Yes it is. You’re a wise man with a loving heart. In some circles that is a rare thing.”
He leaned against the rail. “I don’t know you except by reputation but I want to ask you a few thing, or at least see how you feel about a few things.”
“Okay,” I said.
“I’m in love with Ximena. I know what she is. I know how old she is. It doesn’t matter.”
I shrugged and laughed. “My 500 or so year old Grandmama is in love with a 35 year old. What are you, about 38?”
He smiled. I was correct. He was 38 and absolutely a delight – young, yet years ahead of most men his age.
“Dear Kyle, you also want me to tell you if I think it would be wise if you became a Vampire? Right?”
He smiled an uncomfortable hot blooded smile.
I said to him, “Kyle, you are in love with the cold wind under the moon and the sprint of night. She is an amazing being. I’ve always admired her. If you feel you can make a life out here with her then do it. But don’t lose yourself in her. Always be who you are, even after you become a Vampire. That is the only way it will work. If you try to be too much like her she will leave you, because she fell in love with you, not with herself.”
Raul and Ximena came out to join us with wine for Ryan and spiced blood for the rest of us.
Ximena whistled and Maria the red shouldered hawk came and landed on a table next to her hand. Ximena gave the bird a piece of meat she took from a bag in her pocket.
Into the night we talked until the sun came up and created unbelievably beautiful light and shadows on the mountains.
I could hear the wind whispering to the lovers:
in dark eyes
in our hearts
and we learn
to do it
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman