How To Survive Your Death (page 2)

Dear Em,

Now, for you to understand your mother’s answer in its entire complexity, you must first understand your mother in hers. Think badly of me, lock yourself in your room all night listening to your headphones, never coming out. I know you’re mad at me. I can understand there are a few aspects of my existence you can’t forgive, how I’ve never been able to sit and have lunch with you, or how I kill people for dinner. Food is just one thing we’ll have to accept will always be separate for us.

I’ve tried to give you what I think a normal American girl, (though we’re Canadian now, remember we’re Canadians,) would have growing up in Moscow, London, Paris and Toronto. I’ve tried giving you Thanksgiving turkey in November, Christmas turkey, and Easter Ham, but, now that you’re vegetarian, you don’t want any of it. Now you cook your own food and if I try and sit beside you while you eat, you just sit there, grinding your teeth, glaring at me, hating me for not joining you. You once told me my presence at the table makes your food taste sour. So, that’s why we’re not having Thanksgiving, or, Christmas dinner this year. I’d love it if you wanted me to teach you how to cook the turkey, or, maybe you could show me how to cook your favorite bulgherloaf. Or, I could show you how to make my pancakes you still love. They’re the only things you still let me cook for you.

Part of me doesn’t want to show you, cause, I’m afraid that when you learn to make pancakes like me, you’ll stop wanting me to make them for you. I see you’ve mastered mash potatoes, and you’re a gourmet with the ketchup, so, I don’t think it matters what you eat anyway. I’m not condemning your taste, Em; I know I’m hardly in the position to pass judgement on what you eat. Still, I know you went vegetarian to spite me.

Finally, your two favorite questions: Who is your father? Would I ever make you a vampire?

Your father’s name is Ravi Tendulkar. Before your father, all relationships I had with mortal men were with men I looked at as not just the meal ticket, but as the actual meal itself. If you were a vampire reading this, you’d be licking your fangs. Instead, I know it’s grossing you out. It should, means you’re healthy, Emily.

I’m heartbroken about what happened that I’ve never been able to tell you anything more about your dad, except that he’s dead. That’s true, I haven’t been lying about that. I don’t know how much you want to know about your mother, but, I need you to see me for who I am, as much for my sake as yours, to see if you truly want to be a vampire. You’ve never seen your mother out picking up dinner for herself. I’ve always kept that side from you. Remember how you reacted when you found out mommy being a vampire meant mommy ate people? You stayed up in your room for a whole week, an eternity for a four year old. Still, I never kept that from you, I told you whatever you wanted to know, which, hasn’t been very much. This, more than your vegetarian side, tells me you don’t really want to be vampire, you just want to get my goat again. Careful what you wish for, sweetheart, cause my answer might surprise you.

I met your father the same way I’ve been meeting men for centuries, sitting at a bar, one summer night in Toronto. I always get into a conversation with my meal before devouring them. You’ll be happy to know that I can be very particular about whom I eat. I like to eat jerks, guys you wouldn’t miss, because I respect life, I just don’t respect the life of jerks. So, I’ll talk to the guy for a little bit, check out what kind of jerk he is, before I slip him the mickey, or just ask him to take me home, whatever it takes. It doesn’t take too much, usually, I rarely need the mickey, because, mercifully, I was born in a body men seem to want to take home, and since your mother was bitten at thirty-one, you see she is eternally ravishing. If it turns out I like the guy, I leave the guy alone. But, I couldn’t leave your father alone and he couldn’t leave me alone and there I am accepting his phone number written on the back of a cocktail napkin.

“I’ll call you,” I said, surprising myself by meaning it. The entire idea of going on a date was as foreign to me as the twenty-first century. It seems like just yesterday I was getting used to the nineteenth century. The Industrial Revolution is still fresh in my mind.

Your father once asked me what was the hardest thing to get used to over time. It was a very clever question, your father asked very clever questions. The answer is everything, but, everything does not make a very clever answer. I told your father everything he asked, I never lied to him, like I never lie to you, and you’ll see I came out to him quickly, yet, there are times when you say less than you’re thinking. This letter is not one of those times, sweetheart.

Before your father, I hadn’t trusted myself with a human since becoming a vampire. Sometimes I like to play the James Bond villain, telling the men my entire life and death story and plans for devouring them before biting them. I’m usually bored when I get like that, putting on the character, I even do a voice, dropping my tone, mimicking an Eastern European accent. I’ve actually said the words: ‘I vant to suck your blood!’ in my best Bela Legosi impersonation, corny, but, anything to break up the monotony. Maybe this is too much information for you, but, you also have to see how ridiculous it all is at times, how there’s humor in everything if you’re looking. And the joke is the guys I do it to always laugh their heads off, at least, until I bite them off. They stop laughing when I start eating, they stop making sound altogether. It’s easier to eat people when they’re quiet.

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