Lonely Roads (and Vampires and Parenting)

You know you’re a parent when you worry when your twenty year old son listens to Green Day’s Boulvard of Broken Dreams ten times in a row. Then you sit back and realize that earlier that night you were driving along alone in the car singing along to that song because it could have been you. It could have been you when you were twenty. It could have been you tonight, alone, in a car, all by yourself, out of your mom self and back into who you were once a long time ago.

My social butterfly always-in-a-good-mood alpha Vampire son is fine. We all have our set backs and have to listen to songs that maybe don’t make us feel better, but at least validate our feelings.

I’m having empty bat house syndrome. Call it empty nest if you like. We’re Vampires so it is a bat house. It is my house.

As my children become young adults it brings back of flood of memories from when I was a young adult. Most of it is memories of stupidity (mine and that of others), which has greatly influenced how I have raised my children. I’ve raised them not to be stupid. I don’t want them to make the stupid uninformed and totally embarrassing decisions.

I was thinking about this today when Teddy’s old friend Bic showed up. And speaking of stupid.

It was difficult for my husband Teddy when he first became a Vampire. If it was up to me it would have been handled differently, but it was 1876 and I was only sixteen at the time, and it wasn’t up to me to have an opinion on anything.  He didn’t want to become a Vampire. He didn’t know what a Vampire was.

Needless to say Teddy was angry. He was twenty six, already successful at business, engaged to be married to a lovely girl of good standing, and life was good. Then it wasn’t. In fact it wasn’t even life as he knew it anymore – not at all. It was death, then a completely different kind of life, biologically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. It was a different world.

A few years later (I’d since lost contact with him) at a time when he was angry, and feeling betrayed, he made some new friends. They were nice enough, young Vampires like him. They also had issues to deal with and adjustments to make. After a few years of hanging to together they parted ways and moved on with their Vampire lives.

They were the kind of Vampires who let blood drip from their chins and laughed about it. They were the kind who would get some guy drunk and then bring him home and share him among friends, then laugh when he sobered up in fear.

The first time I met them was October of 1889. I went to where Teddy’s house for a party. There she was sitting with two other Vampires with a small, skinny, dirty, pathetic looking child between them. One of the Vampires, a dark haired male looked up. “We found it on the street. It didn’t belong to anyone.”  Doris had blood dripping down the side of her mouth, and on her hands. The front of her dress was dotted with rust colored stains. She said nothing, but just stared at me with those same dull black eyes.

This was the women Teddy had spoken with such admiration. She was a survivor and an old friend. She’d been there with him. For what? In my experience dead girls weren’t of much use.

I walked to the back of the house where another friend of Teddy’s, a Spanish Vampire named Ricardo said, “Teddy said these were his friends. They have a child. A human child.” He was completely disgusted. We stayed together away from the other until Teddy came back, totally and completely oblivious to his less than cultured friends.

The weird thing about Doris was that she was pretty. She always looked like she was barely eighteen, tall with strawberry blonde hair. Her clothes were always in style, and her hair always done, but that never hid the dead vacant look. She was never too careful about showing her fangs, or her way-past-death’s-door-palor.

At one time she’d had children by a man she’d followed into the darkness. She’d become a Vampire along with Bic and a few other friends. She’d had children by one of the men and in turn they became Vampires. The children scattered as she lost interest in them, and soon they were dust – no more as we say in Vampire circles.

I thought they were gone, but every once in a while they come around. Today was one of those days.

Doris looked at me, her dead eyes following my every move. Dull black with a hint of something that might have been blue looked at me without emotion, but I knew she coveted everything I had, especially Teddy.

She’d pick at the pale chalky skin on her arms with her long white fingernails, as she watched me. When Bic would laugh she’d slowly blink her dark dead eyes and give a hint of a smile. Sometimes a dry lip would get caught on one of her fangs, like a stray dog. Then she’d adjust her face and pick at her arm again.

I could hear Bic laughing. He disgusted me with his mullet, his long mustache, and the same dead look that Doris had. It wasn’t so much that he was bad, that he was just crude. Where Teddy is refined and meticulous, Bic is uncultured and proud of it. He brags about it. Where Teddy is well read, Bic is ignorant and proud to be uninformed about the latest culture.

They, the men, were talking about politics and cars. I can handle the cars. It was the political banter that made me want to scream.

Bic finally came over to me and said, “Doris used to be in love with Teddy.” Then he gave me a slow smile that turned into a laugh. He always did that when he said something he know I wouldn’t like. “I don’t know why you have a problem with her.”

I should have just out and out told him that I’m a snob. I almost said something about Vampire trash but refrained for Teddy’s sake. They’d be gone soon. I’d simmer for a while then get over it.

Both Teddy and I have cleaned our closets over the years of individuals who don’t bring anything to our lives. We have an eclectic group of friend whom we treasure, but there are also those people who come with too many “attachments” and always come with trouble.

It is a crazy and unsure world that my almost grown children will find themselves in. I want them to always feel as if they aren’t alone. I want them to know they have value. I don’t want them to be followers. I want their joy not to be in binge drinking, but in enjoying their blood, like fine wine. We are not animals. We are not monsters. Even if it was legal I wouldn’t want them grabbing children off of the street – even if they were strays.

While those with dead souls who have never dreamed, like Teddy’s old friends, the rest of us can sing along, and know that road, the only road we’ve ever known, will lead us to the right place. Or at least it will lead to someplace interesting.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman