This morning Garrett (age 19) and I stopped by to see Great Great Great Grandmama Lola. Even as Vampires go she is old (born the same year as Geoffrey Chaucer), but she looks all of twenty-six.
In her living room was a large fish tank. Garrett immediately went over to check it out. “When did you get this Grams?”
“Last week. I caught the fish myself. Aren’t they lovely.”
In the tank were two rainbow trout, fresh from the river. I could have given her flack about catching wild fish but I didn’t. It would have been a waste of my breath.
Garrett held out his arm and an African Gray parrot landed on his wrist. Lola claims the parrot is over 200 years old but I never know what to think. She has had the bird for over 80 years so she could very well be right. But then I never know with Lola.
I noticed a pair of boots on the floor, tucked halfway under the coffee table.
“Company?” I asked.
“Upstairs sleeping. He’ll sleep for the rest of the day so you don’t have to worry about any awkward moments.”
“So he is just a Regular Human and not a Vampire?”
“Of course,” said Lola. “He works nights for the Highway Patrol. I think it was the boots that did it for me, well that and everything after he took the boots off. Anyway, I’ve made sure he won’t wake up for another six hours at least.”
Then she looked at me and smiled. “Remember the time, when we sat on the wall on the boardwalk watching the ocean and smoking cigarettes for hours. There must have been a thousand shooting stars that night. Then we went dancing with the two brothers from San Francisco. I could taste the whiskey in their blood. Oh God, I can smell the salt air thinking about it. Do you remember? They were so funny. We couldn’t stop laughing.”
“They both died in the trenches,” I said.
“Trenches? World War One?” Garret asked.
“Yes,” said Lola. “You’ll learn that…” she paused. Then she twisted her long curls into a knot on top of her head, then took a deep breath. “I know you’ve thought about this Garrett. Over the years you’ll meet a lot of people and you won’t forget any of them. Some will go to the back of your mind of course. But what I’m trying to say is you need to respect the memories of those you come across and respect their lives. Respect those you entertain for blood, as well as those you entertain for company. They are more than prey. Respect that.”
“I do respect them. Believe me Grams, I do.”
“Good,” said Lola. “You’ve raised him right Juliette.”
On the way home I thought about those young men, Albert and Hubert. Al and Bert. I thought that war would be the last. We all had that sort of wishful stupid thinking. But no such luck. People are still as stupid and evil as ever. Thank God I was born a Vampire.
Garrett said he wanted to invite Lola down to see him at college. I thought it was a good idea. It is always nice when grandparents visit their college aged grand children, even is the grandparent looks more like a sister.
Lola still suffers from nightmares of things that happened long ago. She has shakes from bouts with Vampire Hunters and scars that have never quiet healed on her body and spirit. She won’t admit it. She lies and says she is alright. I have to admit that we all do that to some extent.
So I excuse her for keeping trout in her living room, and a parrot who sings dirty songs in French and Italian. I excuse her for having men with six pack abs in her bed sleeping off blood loss from the night before. I really don’t need to excuse her, because I accept her. There isn’t anything wrong with her.
I find myself wondering if the mom in me has made me think in ways that are too prim and proper for my own good.
A few days ago I was laughing at this (look below at the funny from Classical Art Memes.)
And my sixteen year old said, “Most parents would have no idea what this means, and you’re laughing out loud at it. That is what makes you the cool mom.”
I don’t always feel cool, but I can out hip any hipster. What was that song? Make “Em Laugh. You know, Donald O’Connor. Look it up on YouTube. I can Make Em’ Laugh. And I can out hip. Yes I can and without looking stupid. Vampires invented hip.
I doubt if my grandkids (when I have them in the far future) will find a 32-year-old CHP officer in my bed, but I’ll be relevant. I’ll be more than relevant. Even now my kids aren’t embarrassed to be with me. Granted we’re Vampires, but teens are teens. Holy crap, I wouldn’t want to be a Werewolf parent. Their kids are weird.
So anyway, just keep laughing, and loving, and don’t bring wild game home, or CHP officers if you can help it (I don’t care how good looking he is.)
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman