It all started with us living happily ever after. Then came the problems. With almost 250 years behind me, (from which I spent around 230 in wedlock) I see things a bit differently than in my reckless youth.
One morning I woke up with this unpleasant feeling in my stomach. It was as though something heavy and undigested sat there – I guess it was my life. My skin itches from our tired routine and I simply cannot bear the silence anymore.
All my friends are dead. They were lucky enough to remain in that comfortable state, unlike myself. They had a life. I watched them settling into middle age, getting a divorce, then getting married again in a ridiculous late life flair. On these second, third weddings flashy bride’s gowns are replaced by plain, beige suits and the guests fidget uncomfortably, trying to hide their thinning hair or their deepening wrinkles. Old friends meet but wrap themselves in silence. Maybe they venture into safe small talk, but avoid mentioning that they had to sell their fancy cars to have money for tooth replacement. They hardly dare to smile.
The last act in this sad story is old age; graceless and frail. Only a select few are granted a great exit. I was there by the death beds, often alone because their relatives fled of fear and disgust. Dying is an ugly business. I stood there in the bleach white rooms with blinking lights, holding the withering hands of friends who were once young.
“Carmilla, you look as young as ever,” they would breathe and I caressed my white wig with an embarrassed smile. With time I mastered painting myself wrinkles more lifelike than their real ones. They had never noticed before, but you couldn’t deceive the eyes of the dying. In the last days they stopped seeing me, their eyes turned inwards to memories of childhood and young love. Life dripped away from them like water from a broken pipe. I could offer them a last act of mercy. When no nurse or doctor patrolled the corridor, I bent over my dear friends and helped them to cross the river Styx with a quick flash of fangs.
I don’t make new friends. What is the point? I grew old inside and I’m sick of the thoughts of more new years to come.
I haven’t mentioned my husband yet. I came to believe that the secret of good marriages is that you know that it will end in the foreseeable future. A few decades and one of you departs to collect flowers on the Elysian fields or wherever is that your faith tells you to go.
The wonder of the human psyche is that if you know something is ephemeral, you treat it as something precious. Look at the Japanese and their cherry blossom fetish or those young fools, Romeo and Juliette. Do you think anybody would be interested in those two if their marriage lasted more than a few days? Their love is only immortalised by death.
Me and my husband are also both dead. Yet nobody is interested in our love life, not even us. It is also more or less dead anyway. He goes out every second night to “play pool with the boys” and he comes home smelling of cider and the blood of small animals. He thinks that I don’t know that sometimes he sneaks out to vampire cons and chats up blonde, underage girls, all of them wear Team Edward <3 or I dig Dracula T-shirts. He brings them to cheap motels and takes their first blood. The girls wake up on a bus, homebound, and they smile sweetly because they think they had their very first sexy dream.
He thinks he can keep this secret from me but I know him more than he knows himself. I’m his wife for blood’s sake, even if I don’t love him anymore.
It’s unavoidable that you get bored of each other after a while. Come on, I’ve spent about 80 300 nights next to him. That’s enough time to grow tired of your favourite chocolate, not with some old fool in a teen titan body.
I’ll tell you how I know about all the girl business because I start to feel that you think I’m making this up.
Well, I saw him with my own two eyes. I go to those cons as well. I dress up as a vampire queen and enjoy geek boys getting all dreamy-eyed when they see me. A woman cannot be too old to have gentlemen courting her. So there I was, bathing in their shy admiration when I saw my old man parading around with one of those bleach-haired bi… babies.
Honestly, he used to have a better taste centuries ago. He was so occupied with his little playmate that he didn’t recognise his wife, his life’s companion when she was standing ten meters from him! Ah, men! They don’t see further than their most precious body part.
I’m not telling you this to complain. I’m not jealous. It is just a little striking detail of our marriage I thought you might find interesting. Why would his philandering annoy me? I’m a strong independent woman with my own anti-age cream company. I run a book club and visit senior yoga classes twice a week. Anyway, why do I bother with telling you all this? It’s not like you’ll be offered the choice to have eternity as your play ground. But if by any chance you meet a suspiciously handsome man just like my Béla was when he trapped me and are offered the choice, just remember my words! Or you will end up like me, wasting your centuries long life story on a homework for your “Life writing for mature women” evening class.
This story is for the Storytime Blog Hop, hosted by lovely Juneta Key.
The story was originally published in Wonderlust zine by Sonya Cheney.
You can read the stories by the other participants here:
The Cloud, by Karen Lynn
Data Corruption, by Barbara Lund
Wish Granted, by Kami Bataya
The Witch of Wall Street, by J. Q. Rose
#StorytimeBloghop Grim Reapers on a Field Trip #FlashFiction #SFF, byJ Lenni Dorner
Unwelcome Vistors, by Bill Bush
A Writer’s Morning, by Katharina Gerlach
Unverified, by Erica Damon
Tito’s to the Max, by Chris Makowski
The Boon, by Juneta Key
October Storytime Blog Hop @ Angela Wooldridge
Recommended Reading, @ Raven O’Fiernan
Sanctuary, by Elizabeth McCleary