Desert Winds

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:

The light

in dark eyes

promises kept

forever and

again

in our hearts

we love

we laugh

and we learn

to do it 

all

over 

again.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Owl Songs on a Full Moon Night

When you don’t sleep at night you get to know the owls.

Their songs – or more often their talking, their quotes, their calls, come in five notes.

They say “we knew you.”

They call out a secret code,

To a lone Vampire,

On a Dark Night,

Or maybe they sing to a lost love, or more so the same wrong words.

They sat in the tree like they are auditioning for a Steinbeck novel, in their oak tree on a California night just lit by a full Werewolf moon.

With the white Sierras in the background and the knowledge that the Pacific Ocean is close.

I was with Max earlier, my brother. He is such an alpha, yet so silent in his feelings. He listens to the owls and I know he thinks of a lost love that nobody else knew, or remembers. It only lingers in his heart and the secret places that only the creatures of the night know.

The distant traffic noises fade to nothing, and the night belongs to the soft sounds of the owls, and the random sound of deer walking single file through the field behind my home.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Working out loss, love and life with your Vampire teen.

My 16 year old son is usually sunshine and smiles but yesterday, after being back at school for the first day after Thanksgiving break, he was quiet and almost sad. He said school was fine and it was good seeing his friends again, but he didn’t talk like he usually does.

I found this in the car scrawled in my son’s writing:

 

One day we’ll part,

In different worlds,

Not so different,

Not the same,

You’ll have change,

I will stay the same,

You’ll have wonder,

I will stay the same,

You’ll have wisdom,

I will see the wonders of the ages,

Except that I will miss you,

My heart a broken mess.

I knew where this was going. Friends mean everything to a teen. Their friends are the center of their universe. They think though their hearts. They bond friendships that will last forever – or so it seems.

After not seeing him for about an hour I went searching just to make sure he was ok.

I found Garrett, not on his computer, or iPhone but painting. He almost always writes poetry when something is on his mind. I find scraps of paper with free verse in the clothes dryer, in books, in the car and just about everywhere. He also paints to get out emotions he is trying to deal with.

I found him in front of a canvas he has painted over and over until the paint has become thick as a pancake. “I hate the fact that my friends are going to die before I do. They’re going to get old and I’m going to have to leave their lives because I won’t age like they do. It sucks mom. It isn’t fair.” He looked at me with sad eyes.

“Your friends are going through the same thing only sooner than you are.” I told him.

“How?”

“Some have already lost parents and grandparents. A few have lost friends and siblings. It leaves holes that are hard to imagine.”

“I’d die if anything happened to you or dad.” He looked at me with so much love and sadness that it broke my heart.

I put my hand on his shoulder. “You won’t die. You just remember and know the love is still there. You find strength. You keep the memory of the person who died and live to make them proud of you. The memories are always yours.”

“It’s just hard,” he said.

“I know, but you have a long way to go. I’ve loved and cherished my friends over the years. I feel honored to have known them. Their path isn’t the same as ours. Their lives are full and rich and wonderful. They have options we can’t even imagine.”

“Mom, by the time I’m 30 I’ll have to start backing away because I’m not going to age like they will.” The frustration in his voice was clear.

“It isn’t that simple Garrett. You’ll keep connections with some of your most trusted friends. They’ll understand. There are ways to deal with it and work around it.”

“Your friends, the ones you have when you were my age are all gone.”

“I still miss them sometimes baby. It isn’t always easy.” I told my son. It wasn’t easy but one grew to accept it. Not like it, but accept it.

“Sometimes I wish we were regular humans. You know, normal people,” said my son.

“We’re normal enough.” I had to smile. Normal for modern suburban Vampires.

“My friends are going to go away.”

“They’ll be in your heart forever.”

“It isn’t the same.” He gave me a very very very sad look that broke my heart.

“I know honey. I wish I had an answer for you but I don’t.” And I still don’t.

I could have told him to be proud to be a Vampire etc etc etc. He is and it is all he knows, but sometimes it is ok to let your teen brood and ponder life and love and death. They need to explore those feelings – and as a parent you can be open to their thoughts and ideas. Give them the support they need and a safe place to go if they have questions or just want to talk.

Just listen. Sometimes that is all they need.