Have you ever heard from someone you once knew, and spent so much time with, then lost touch for decades, then suddenly, they reach out to you?
When I first met Professor Alexander Johnson I’d thought he was one of the most unique individuals I’d ever met. I’d attended a class with my brother Aaron. In the large lecture hall we’d listened to the small individual with the booming voice speak of the fall of the Roman Empire and the cautionary tale it is to modern civilization. He also spoke of the roles of Roman woman and how we should never romantic or accept that women are secondary to men. He talked of how we should all treat women as equals, and that no matter how unpopular it was, that women should be allowed to vote and own property, and most of all have an education. That was in 1877. We were in California so of course there were women in the lecture hall, but at the time many universities did not yet allow female student.
I sat transfixed by this well dressed, almost etherial, yet powerful man. He was full of contradictions.
After the lecture Aaron brought me to a large book filled office to meet Professor Johnson. The charismatic glow of the man filled the room. Not my brother, Professor Johnson. My brother glows enough on his own but…I’m getting off subject.
Immediately Professor Johnson smiled and took my hand in his. The first thing I noticed was how cool his hands were. Then he smiled, showing a hint of fang.
“Yes, Juliette, I am just like you. Aaron, Juliette, come dine at my home with me tonight. A few friends will be over. Friends like us. Friends with open minds. We’ll have some nice bottles of Poet’s Blood, and food that will not make us sick. Oh you cannot believe how many dinners I have had to go to and pretend to be enjoying what I will vomit up when I return home.”
In the carriage ride back to Aaron’s home, he told me about how Professor Johnson had taught as a guest lecturer all over the world. He was an expert in ancient history. His books filled libraries and sparked the imaginations of students, and continued to spark the imaginations of former students, and so many others.
Later, after we had dressed for dinner, we arrived at the grand home of Professor Alexander Johnson. At the time I was only 17, almost 18, so this made me feel extremely grown up.
A man with curly hair and cherubic cheeks greeted us at the door. He introduced himself as Marcus Johnson. I wondered at first if he was the brother or cousin of Professor John.
Then, before I could ask my brother about the relationship, a woman, wearing the most dazzling dress of cobalt blue and peacock green silk came into the room. Her short hair was brushed back in a diamond comb. The mustache was gone. The straight figure hidden by a long black coat was now corseted curves. The booming loud voice had become softer.
It was Professor Johnson. She took my hand, “My dear, I am so glad you could come. Glad you met my husband Marcus. Please, call me Alexandria.”
Later we spoke of how sad it was that people couldn’t be who they really are due to ignorance and outdated traditions. It was frustrating that women had to be held back and expected not to use their brains. Over the next few weeks we met frequently.
Maybe later I’ll have the entire story of the Johnsons, who were, and still are the most remarkable couple.
I guess what the point of this is that, sometimes there are people who touch our lives and there is an immediate bond despite any differences in age, gender, social background, or whatever.
So when Alex send me a message to come meet her when I was in Southern California visiting my daughter (where I am right now) I said YES. Before that we talked on the phone for about three hours.
Last night we met for another six, talking, walking on the beach talking more, and just being, like friends do.
From time to time Professor Johnson still teaches. Only this time her hair curls down around her shoulders, and there is no artificial facial hair.
Wouldn’t it be nice if in this day and age we could all be so transparent of who and what we are.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman