Old friends I hadn’t seen in a century stopped by Sunday night.
We were young together, the same age as my teenage daughter and her friends, sixteen and seventeen years old.
We laughed and told stories and caught up on.
Some of our old friends hadn’t done so well. Vampire Hunters took several. One’s husband went to check on her and found a pile of ashes in the bed. One couldn’t go on being in the world and feeling the sadness and loneliness so he sealed himself into a wall. Another left for South America in 1889 and nobody has heard from him since.
There are secrets too. There are those secrets that, when young, we keep deep inside of us. Sometimes we tell them, eventually. Sometime we don’t. Those are the secrets of our hearts. They are also the secrets of deeds. Then there are the secrets of who we really are.
As Vampires we all know how to keep that secret for obvious reasons. We don’t keep it from ourselves, our own kind, just from the people who aren’t like us.
Olivia and Simon sat at the table with me and a bottle of wine as we caught up. How things have changed for our teens.
In the world of my children, sixteen and nineteen, nobody cares if anyone is gay. It isn’t an issue. But back when I was young it was rarely even talked about. Only in rare circles was it accepted. So if you were in love with someone of the same sex you kept it secret. You kept your shame to yourself, unless you were lucky enough to be among those who were in the circles that accepted your secret.
There are other secrets. I admitted for the first time about the boys I had crushes on. But I still wouldn’t tell secrets of a love a few years later, much more than a crush. I told him to stay faithful to a girl he adored rather than be with me. What I wanted to do was to tell him that I was the one who loved him. So is he with that girl now? I doubt it. That was over a hundred years ago and we were babies. Forgotten secrets and memories that were dislodged out of old dusty file cabinets in our brains.
I look back at the inexperience of our feelings and reactions. Maybe it is the secrets that keep us safe. It is the secrets that keep us from harm.
There were secrets of sneaking out at night. Of seeing things we shouldn’t have seen. Of stealing a heart, or something else. Secrets of a lie. Secrets of a longing. Secrets of desire. Secrets of helping someone else out in secret. And secrets of hate.
We spoke of the Vampire boy who was in love with a Werewolf girl. After a summer they parted ways. He went off to a university, she went to Europe and never came back. They were both too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone. Those times are changing.
We spoke of things we saw but never dared tell – violence, abuse, hate and betrayal.
There are those who say secrets are lies but I beg to differ. I don’t believe one must tell all, especially to friends and especially to lovers. Your experiences and thought and feeling are your own. You’re not a book to be opened. You are allowed to share only what you wish to share with others – for you belong to only yourself.
It can be confusing being young. The entire world is before you, but you don’t have the experience. You have the passion but you don’t know how to guide it. You have the joy but are never told to treasure it. You have the honesty but don’t know the portions. But most seem to have the ability to keep secrets safe and sound for as long as needed.
But seriously we had a great time catching up and laughing and not being as serious as this post. Good things – many good things have happened. Many more will in the future. Our secret to that? There is no secret. We just keep laughing and treasure those who made us who we are, and share memories with us.
So what comes out of this, as always, is to talk to your kids, listen to them, encourage them to share, and don’t pry. If you try to get all of their secrets they’ll become like stone, staring at you forever and never telling you anything.
Love them and laugh with them. Not just your teens – do that with everyone. Even the occasional Werewolf (you’ll be surprised how fun they can be if you get them on a moonless night.)
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman