Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle Aged Vampire - PART 23

The next day dawned as drizzly and as miserable as you could wish for a funeral. It was 7:00 am and my sister-in-law May was tapping sharply on my door. I heaved myself out of bed, grabbed a robe and stumbled down.

I opened the front door and was immediately drowned in soft scented flesh and stiffly lacquered hair.

"Greta!" May snuffled against my cheek, "Oh darl...How are you copin'?" I hugged May tight for just a moment longer, then I stepped away.

She looked devastated - like I was supposed to feel but didn't. Her heavy cheeks sagged, and the crusted eyeliner seemed to drag down at the corners of her eyes. The red lipstick had bled up into the deep vertical lines on her upper lip, and the skin under her chin looked loose and wrinkly. A bit like a giant scrotum.

The harsh morning light was not being kind to May, and I shuddered to think what it was doing to ME. We were not the girls we used to be, that's for sure, and a crueler trick Nature or the unkind gods had never played on humans. I didn't FEEL any older than the slim girl who'd strode down the steps determined to be seduced by Frank, and I know May didn't either. And the truth be told: neither of us was any wiser.

I stepped back and led May to the kitchen, put the kettle on and took down two mugs. What a comforting ritual tea was! Surely if the end of the world was announced, I would be doing the same. Anything can be faced with tranquillity with a nice cuppa and a sweet biscuit in front of you.

May sighed and fell into the kitchen chair. "Oh Greta, what an awful tragedy! And you already so traumatised, finding poor Frank like that!"

"Yes...It was...Very...Shocking, very," I stumbled for sincerity. "I feel it's all my fault, May. I killed him. I brought this horror down on him."

"NO!" May's cry was from the heart, and made me feel an even deeper shame, "Never think that! You were the victim of a monster, a predator! And poor Frank died defending you." She mopped at the tears slowly percolating down her cheeks through the thick layers of face powder. "He died a hero."

"A hero," I echoed, remembering the vicious smirk rolling back his upper lip in that split second before my mind had gone blank. "Yes, Frank was that..."

I leaned over and placed a comforting hand over hers, and patted her plump shoulder while she sobbed.

Much later, I went upstairs to change into one of the black dresses I had purchased the day before, complete with sheer black tights and decorous black heels. Sheila was meeting us, and together we would drive to Silverman & Stell's together.

On the way we would stop off and pick up her old ruin of a mother (whom I quite loathed and who perversely quite adored me).

Life is full of such ironies, isn't it? Unrequited loves of every kind, ricocheting affection, wasted understanding, soured passions.

No more, I vowed to myself. From now on I would not endure anything less than what I deserved - good or bad - for a single second. Life was precious, and to be lived intensely or not at all.


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