My Life In Darkness, part 17 (fiction)

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My Life In Darkness

 

17. Nicola

 

“You’re still looking as pale as you were on Friday. I hope you’re not sick with something.” Helen said to me as I joined her behind the counter.

“I got a lot of sleep over the weekend, but I’m still rather tired.” I said. “I’m not ill though.”

“You seem to have collected a few bruises as well since I last saw you. What were you up to?” She asked as she looked me up and down.

“On Friday night when I got home I was so out of it I tripped on the stairs.” I lied.

“That’s terrible. Was any damage done?” she asked concerned.

“No, it’s just bruises really.”

I could see that a few boxes had been dropped off by the couriers, so I offered to unpack them and get the new books ready for the shelves, anything to stop the conversation. I didn’t like having to lie to her and I wondered if this was something that would be happening regularly from now on. Doing something relatively menial let me think about the last couple of days and everything that had happened.

I still found it hard to believe I was dating a vampire. So much had changed since I left work on Friday. The world was a much different place now, but in the reality of everyday life and working in this bookstore where the only vampires to be found where in the horror section it seemed unbelievable. But vampires did exist and I had the bite marks to prove it, and a vampire girlfriend who drove me to work this morning. I was feeling a weird mix of emotions, and I couldn’t tell anyone about it. What if it all went wrong? Having a vampire ex wouldn’t be great. What if I didn’t want to be in the relationship anymore? Would she let me leave? Would she mind control me into staying in it? What if I end up bleeding to death because she couldn’t control her hunger one night? I felt anxiety welling up in me, and to think about something else my thoughts drifted to my ex…

I met Nicola in college. She was very beautiful with shoulder length slightly wavy brown hair and hazel eyes.  It took me ages to muster up the courage to ask her out and I wasn’t even sure if she liked other girls, but when she said yes it was the most amazing feeling I had ever felt. I believed I was invincible; like I could do anything I put my mind to. I remember all that day when she said yes I wandered around the campus grinning like an idiot. Everyone kept asking me why I was smiling all the time. We started dating and fell even more in love with one another; at least that’s how it seemed. Pretty soon it began to get serious. After that year of college ended we both left the dorms and moved into an apartment. We seemed to settle into a life together, it wasn’t perfect, but I was happy and I thought she was too. I don’t know what happened and it’s still puzzling me.

We had been together for about two years when Nicola came home one night, walked straight into the living room where I was watching television, and announced she didn’t love me anymore and was moving out. It totally came out of nowhere. I searched my mind of any sign of this coming, but I couldn’t recall anything. I tried reasoning with her, arguing, even getting down on my knees and saying I would change; whatever I had done, or not done, I would make it all better. I would be a better person. No matter what I tried I found her unresponsive. She had become a completely different person, so cold, so unwilling to even listen to me now. She wouldn’t even look at me. The only explanation I got was a vague comment along the lines of maybe people once you get to know them aren’t what they seem. She refused to elaborate on it, and that was all I got. Within two days she was gone, along with all of her things, and I sat on the couch alone crying my heart out. I never got another word from her. There was no explanation or anything. I was left alone in the dark trying to figure out what happened. It was like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle with no picture to guide you and finding there were not enough pieces to give you a complete picture anyway. I struggled on after that. It took me a long time before I could begin to believe in myself again.

After another couple of years of unsuccessfully dating a few other women and not being able to find a job that was capable of both paying my rent and all my living expenses, I admitted defeat and retreated back to Lawrence. My dad was here willing to pick up all my broken pieces and I had a job I could go back to at the bookstore where I used to work during the holidays. It was also nice not worrying I might suddenly bump into Nicola again, or hear other people I knew talking about her, which still caused a lot of pain. Then my dad suddenly died and the peaceful rebuilding of my life was in ruins again. In the space of a few years I had lost my lover, and both my parents. I felt like my adult life was only just starting, yet already falling apart. What else did life have in store for me? I became quite fearful and scared of whatever the future could bring.

“Excuse me young miss, would I perchance be able to take you out for lunch?” a voice said.

I looked up and there was Tony grinning like an idiot. I smiled. Looking at the clock I saw it was now midday.

“That would be most agreeable kind sir!” I said as I extended out my right hand to him. He took my hand and then led me out of the shop. “I’ll be back soon!” I called out to Helen as I walked out the door. We walked down to a burger bar that was a couple of blocks away.

 

Next episode: Lunch With Tony

 

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