The teen years begin for my boys calmly, but with purpose. Myron listens to music while Gizmo supervises.
Andres researches vampires as I gently bring forth an ancient knife from a clump of earth. He approaches me tentatively once we’re both finished and tells me he’s learned the address of a person who can get him started on his path. I protest that it’s the middle of the night, but he smiles and informs me gently that the middle of the night is, in fact, the best and most appropriate time to call on this particular person.
So, in a show of solidarity and support for my wayward second-born, we venture as a family to Forgotten Hollow.
Andres enters alone and pauses skeptically in the entryway. He’s just recalled, perhaps, that the person he is seeking is known for being evil, while his sweet self is undeniably good. This may prove troublesome. Perhaps we should have called on the Vatores down the road, instead.
Nevertheless, Vladislaus Straud and my dear son both overcome their misgivings, and make a mutually beneficial arrangement.
The boy has a taste for it, there’s no doubt. Perhaps he’ll be something of a good influence on his ancient master. Who can say?
I am off at the nearby pond in search of the elusive vampire squid, so Daniel and the boys take advantage of Vlad’s comfortable, underutilized dining room to bang out their homework.
The effects of Andres’ encounter with Vlad begin to show quickly. Already my second son’s decisions begin to cause him pain.
While his brother blithely fiddles the night away outside.
A few moments after obtaining my squishy, winged prize, I spin in a startled circle. I’ve forgotten my birthday. Perhaps it’s better that it’s taken me by surprise. I’d rather not think about what it means. How much time has been spent. How much is left. Better to just get back to fishing. Better to just be grateful for the few extra hours my forgetfulness has bought me. I’ve never been fond of cake, anyway.
Next morning the boys head off eagerly for their first day of high school.
And return home not quite so eagerly.
Light and Darkness through and through. Myron’s grades are up. Andres’ are not. Myron is happy and energized. Andres is enraged. And covered in some sort of spots.
Sensible and calm at heart, however, he goes for a jog to clear his mind. Perhaps his last jog in the sunshine for some time.
Daniel maxes gourmet cooking. He purchases Stoves and Grills Master, and from here on out cooks nothing but platter after platter of Baked Alaska, attempting to achieve impeccable quality.
We attempt to soothe and comfort our brooding boy by assisting with his school project late into the night. He views us with teenaged skepticism, but also a hint of grudging gratitude. Rough as his path may be, he will not walk it alone. His father and I will make sure of that.
I finally get to invent something interesting at work.
I attempt to use my powers for good and set off a dance party in the office building, but the receptionist only manages a deeply resentful boogie. Some people just don’t want to be happy, I suppose.
Early next morning, between work and school, Andres undergoes his change.
He embraces his new form.
And puts his research to good use under the watchful eye of his father.
Daniel and I fall into a rhythm of quiet mornings with the boys off at school. I dig deep for breakthroughs, and Daniel maxes painting.
I permit myself a moment of self-satisfaction with my prowess at authentication. Sadly, my once-bottomless pile of dirt clumps has dwindled to nothing, and I have only three out of five excellent quality identifications to my name. I begin checking the mail with increased urgency and float the idea of making Selvadoradan birthdays a tradition.
His other designated skills maxed, Daniel turns his attention to gardening, fertilizing everything in sight.
Returning home after another frustrating day at school, Andres attempts to menace his brother, with disappointing results. Good Vampire truly is the best path for him. His sweet face couldn’t intimidate a fly. Myron’s unflappable smirk describes him perfectly as well. He is as cool and steady as the flow of the creek near our house.
My beloved sons are finding their way in the world, and my time is winding down. The march of hours beats more softly in my ears, and I find I’m better able to savor these small moments without thinking about what they may mean in the larger context of our legacy. I adore my boys and my husband, and we are content. Let tomorrow bring what it may.