One Last Sunrise
By Merry Marcellino/
Being old never bothered me before. I’d like to think I was wise and not the reckless person of my youth. Age was just a number after all. It didn’t define who you were. Some people looked older, some younger than their years. Some learned valuable lessons, others learned nothing.
Our contributions, whether children to carry on our works or assistance to our communities, engraved us in the hearts of the people around us. Would we be remembered? Was that what we wanted? What I wanted?
I’d had many lovers in my lifetime. Some I remembered as if it were yesterday. Men who loved me with passion and everything they had. There was Marco, who I wished I had married. His Latin good looks drew me in but his lovemaking kept me in his bed and his care for me stole my heart, but he and I were not to be.
Then there was Steven. Simple and quiet, he stole into my life, inserted himself in my everyday routine until one day, he wasn’t there. Both of us stubborn, we fought, but always made up before the end of the day. He was a rock in times when things were not so sturdy in my life. I didn’t want him to leave.
Everyone leaves eventually, whether to move on to better things or to go wherever we go when our bodies no longer work. Some call that place heaven, others call it reincarnation. Starting the process of life in a human body over again. Many great debates were fought over such topics. I’d been part of some of them myself. Never answering the questions, just adding to them, sure our explanation was the one.
Could I have done more with my life? Did I do everything I could? I certainly tried a variety of things. Dancing was a favorite, using my body as a form of expression, wondering if I conveyed to my audience what I felt. What the music said to us.
I was a pilot for many years, the plane becoming an extension of me. Soaring through the air, thousands of feet above the ground, I would wonder how anyone could stay earthbound. Beholding trees, houses, and buildings in model form, feeling like a God above it all.
Was I arrogant to think so? Possibly. Did I judge too much, thinking I had the answers while others struggled with everything from minute issues to problems of epic proportion? I may never know.
I’d had my fair share of problems. Some were through my own fault. Some, who knows. As they say, hindsight is twenty/twenty. Combing through my life now, I find places to improve. If I had done this better, if I had made this choice instead of that. Maybe I wouldn’t be here now. Maybe I would have died long ago, never knowing Marco or Steven. Would the world have been better not knowing me? How much did my contributions, my love ripple into the world?
The clock chimed as I applied makeup. Just a little mascara and lip gloss. It didn’t matter what I looked like in the end. It gave me a boost, though. I was a looker if I did say so myself. Remembering the days I made heads turn made me chuckle. The power of a woman’s allure. I had it in abundance. When I was a little girl, I didn’t know what it was. I was preoccupied with having fun, racing around our farm, playing with the animals. My mother and father working hard to make it so I could enjoy my childhood. It seemed so far in the past, another life to me.
As I got older I found men flocked to me. They didn’t care about my education, wisdom, which my mother told me to keep hidden. Being the willful young woman I was, I ignored her advice and found myself getting older without a husband. I had many lovers, but they would leave when my intelligence burst through the beauty, the reason they came to me.
Beauty, it fades in time. Mine was frozen on my face. Laughing once again at the shallow feelings of men, I found myself coveting beauty and made mistakes in my search for the fountain of youth. Deep down I knew it wasn’t important, but the foolishness of youth prevailed. I was a woman of my times, seeking those who thought me beautiful when I should have looked for someone who admired my mind.
Well, time passes for everyone and we must face what we have done. I can remember good times as well as bad. Good choices as well as those that make me shiver as though my body was dunked in ice water. Would I change those bad choices? I think not. Even looking back now, I would do the same. Smiling, I glanced one more time at the clock. Time can be our friend and our enemy.
Standing, I took a last look at my room. It was filled with things I’d acquired in years of travel. Some were gifts from admirers and friends. They meant nothing now except for the sentimentality that I allowed myself.
It was time for one last look at one of my favorite spots. Is this what people do when it’s their time to go? Do they look back on all they’ve done and not done? Do they spend their time with friends and family? Most of mine are gone. I’ve watched them dwindle away from sickness or sometimes by their own hand. Those taken by others haunted me most.
Opening the door, I looked out over the rooftop. I’d spent many a night on this very roof. Parties, the likes you’ve never seen, drew in hundreds. Celebrities stood in line to get an invite to my bashes, famous throughout the city. It made me happy at the time. Now, making new friends, finding new loves, knowing they would be gone too, didn’t appeal to me.
It was a fitting way to end my life. As I watched the sun peep over the horizon, colors an artist would envy, crept onto the roof. Taking a breath, I closed my eyes for a moment. It was time. Time to say goodbye to the world.
My fangs extended as I stepped into the warmth of the sun, my body becoming ashes, fluttering like confetti into the warm evening breeze.