After signing the documents, I did have a troublesome thought which I put to Judith, “I understand the seriousness and importance of this…and as such, I wonder if I should not have waited until John was here with me?” I was pensive and wondering that surely he must have known of this? Why was he not here with me?
Judith took my hand and looked at me thoughtfully as she spoke, “This was not a decision which John could or should guide or influence you in. This oath must clearly be of your own volition and choosing. There must be no other party present who could later be accused of swaying your choices in the matter.” She went on to explain that everyone went through the same meeting in the same way. Every person, from man to woman, husband to wife, down to the youngest child capabile of making such a decision was afforded the freedom and the responsibility of making this decision soley on their own.
We lived in a much different time now, where women and children were allowed and encouraged to have a voice in the most important matters of their lives. It was well undersood that in the time from whence we came, our choices would have been made for us without our say in it? In our past times, the eldest man of a household would most likely have made the decision for the entire family. In the situation we were in, going by that age old tradition would cause an entire family to be banished along with a ruling husband and father who decided for what ever reasons that he did not want to take this oath.
For my own part, I had no one to make such decisions for me? I had no family to speak of and, even going by the traditions of my past time, John really had no say as yet in these matters of my life. Until we would be officially betrothed, I was much my own person.
This was another matter which somewhat troubled me and I was in need of some council on it. I hesitated before asking Judith if our official meeting was over? She nodded her head as she put the papers away and sealed the large envelope.
She looked at me and smiled, “Yes, the most official part of our day is finished! Is there something else you want to talk about?” She seemed to know that something else was bothering me today.
I was not sure how to start this sort of conversation, never having had occasion to confide my private matters to a friend before! “Well, yes there is something that you might be able to help me with?”
She smiled softly and encouraged me to go on, “I will do what ever I can… I have a feeling that what you would like to discuss is more of a personal matter?”
I nodded in agreement, “I am truly not sure even how to begin this? I should like your advice on relationships in this day and age?” I felt myself blushing at the mere mention of this subject!
Judith laughed, “Well, as I said, I’ll do what I can? But, I will be the first to admit to my own struggles with this subject!”
I paused and looked at her with some doubt now…perhaps she was not one to go to for this? After all, she was a woman of some years and as far as I knew, she was not married nor had family of her own? I did feel some ease with her though and had no one else to turn to right now so I went on, “What I should like to understand is not so much relationships, but more where I fit in, what my place and my status is here?” I knew it was not coming out as I intended and tried to explain, “In my past time, I was much on my own, having no real family to sponsor or guide me? I did merit some status due to my family name and my lineage, and I was ever guided by that? I was also ruled by those of higher rank and position than me, by the men in power at the time…”
Judith looked somewhat confused and I assured her, “Tis alright, I am rambling… I am not sure how to put this together so if you would be patient with me whilst I try to sort it out aloud?”
She suddenly laughed and told me, “You have every right to be confused! And, honestly, I think I am beginning to understand what you’re trying to sort out?”
I sighed, “Ahhhh well, I am happy you understand when even I do not!” I went back to my musings, “What I am trying to sort out is the differences in the times for the state of women such as I? Back then, I knew my place, what was expected, what was my duty and my role… I was trained and raised from a small child to follow certain rules of conduct in my life? Even when there were such devestating changes, those rules remained quite in place over a long period of time. Even though I had limited and doubtful family, they still played much of a role in guiding my life. I guess what I am thinking, is now I have none of that? I have no family, I am unsure of my role or my status in this new world. So, I am now truly my own person with none to speak for me or make my decisions…” I was silent for a time, then continued, “My previous decisions and choices have always been based on what best for others, what others might deem proper and correct? Every choice I made was for that of someone else? Either their safety, their happiness, or how they would judge me? I do not remember ever making a decision or choice based on what I should like, or what I desire?”
Judith sighed, “Really, Eleanor, not so much has changed over the centuries as you think? Men and women still struggle constantly with those same feelings! You are just now at a point where you can make choices for yourself? You’ve made sacrifices for years for others with no thought for your own happiness. Now it’s time for you to think of what would make you happy? What do you want from life, Eleanor? You have plenty of time now to think about it and decide?”
I gave her a puzzled look, “That is the matter? I have no true idea?” I chewed on my lip for a moment and Judith squeezed my hand.
She peered into my eyes with subtle questioning, “I think you have some ideas? I think you’re just scared to voice or admit them?”
I looked back at her and nodded slightly while still chewing on my lip, I whispered, “I am scared? Frightened beyond belief at what I want and what I desire because it so goes against my entrenched beliefs and values?” I squeezed her hands tightly, “I have ever tried to remain as independent as possible in my life withing the boundaries set by those above me… And, because of the precariousness of the time slips and their affects, I sought never to become too attached to any others or give them my heart? I feared it would be far too much to bear should I lose them?” My voice faltered as I went on, “Now, I fear that I have lost my heart, and will lose my much fought for independence in gaining that which I desire most? And, I wonder if my intense desire is true or if it is just a physical desire, an infatuation caused by my over heightened senses of late?”
Judith seemed to understand what I was grasping at? She pulled me close and hugged me in comfort as I tumbled out my feelings for John, my fears and my doubts, “How do I know truly if this is what he so firmly believes, that we are soul mates destined to be ever together for eternity? And, if it is that, what must I give up to be with him forever?”
Judith sighed, “Eleanor, we all ask ourselve those same things? We always have those thoughts and fears that run through our mind? It’s part of having a heart, soul and brain all interconnected?” She smile again, “What are you so afraid of? Do you fear his bloodline, his Vampyrism… or is it something else that you fear? I think you fear losing part of yourself? I believe that what you fear most is within you and not so much about him?”
I was surprised as her understanding! “I fear that our union will once again put me in a place, a position of being controlled? I know that John and I are from a time long past and he still adheres much to those old beliefs and traditions, one which I have never put much faith or trust in, but followed because I had few other options or choices?” I stood up and started pacing around the room as I, in Judith’s words vented my fears and my frustrations. “In my heart, I do not question the fact that I love him? I would gladly give him my heart and share my soul with him… but, then I think of some of his so self assured attitudes, and his oft controlling behaviors… such as going forth with plans and not consulting me? I then become infuriated and think that this is not how I want to go forth?”
I went so far as to stop and stomp my foot in irritation,”I have viewed some of this present day, and I have remembered some relationships of my past that I admired? They were ones of those two peoples being on sound and equal footing, go forward together side by side, not one ahead making all of the choices and the decisions? If I am to be with him, then it should be as side by side, not him beleiving he is more of one to decide than I!”
Judith sighed and then laughed as she insisted I sit back down before I wear the carpet out with my pacing? “Eleanor, I do believe that speech is one you should be sharing with John!” She laughed again, “Although, I have to agree with you on your thoughts that he can be a bit arrogent and overly self assured when he thinks he’s right? I think your problem is that you are a woman far ahead of your ancient past times and you are just realizing that! Your other problem is that John is not one who has quite reached present day attitudes where women are concerned?” She groaned in her own frustration and added, “Really though, there are quite a few men still like him around! Believe me, I’ve dealt with more than my share of them!”
I looked at her curiously, “Well, then if it is so common even now, then surely you should be able to help me with this problem!”
Judith groaned and answered me, “Eleanor, if we could solve that problem, we would all be living happily ever after!” She decided then that perhaps we should enjoy an evening of commiseration and a few glasses of wine to ease our varied frustrations with the opposite sex?
As we relaxed, she shared her own frustrations with me. I had asked her if there was someone in particular that she had felt such a way about? She swirled her glass of wine around and had a far off look on her face. I knew there must be someone she was thinking of and missing, or perhaps regretting that she had left behind?
She told me of this someone…”First, I should advise you that as far as Vampyres go, you really have no fears? I know one quite well and, while he often displays many of the same irritating qualities as John, I do still hold hope for him… for us?” She sighed, “Ours is what people now days refer to as a long distance, commuting relationship? Mainly because we both seem to be too busy and involved with our individual pursuits to put forth that commitment to be always together? Or maybe it’s a case of both us being a little afraid of that word ‘commitment’?” She took a long drink then went on, “Who really knows, or understands? Our relationship seems to work well enough for us right now, so we don’t question it or force the issue for fear that the other person might not be at the same point as we are?”
It became an evening of sharing our lives and realizing that as Judith had mentioned earlier, things were really not all so much different between the times? There were still the same emotional struggles and heartaches that spanned the ages. There were still the frustrations of love and loss, the battles for control and power no matter what age one lived in!
Judith’s thought on all of it was, “All I know is that, like you, my heart tells me that I love him no matter what, but my brain tells me quite often that he’s not worth the frustration and we should just stick with the dog!”
She stared out at the starlit night and pondered, “There are times when I wonder who I miss more, Eric or my dog, Noel?!” Her voice sounded forlorn as she tried to laugh it off, “Then of course I wonder too, who misses me more? Or if they are such great pals now that they don’t miss me at all?”
A hint of doubt and worry entered her voice with her last thought for the night, “Then too there are moments when I worry that I shouldn’t have left? I even have pesky little thoughts of doubt on leaving them with my good friend, who I know would never betray me in that way… but, I wonder, What if? What if Eric and Noel should find more comfort with Brenda just because she’s there and I’m not?”