Sometimes she dreamed a human life; a husband, white picket fence, and children all included somehow. She didn’t necessarily want that but having never gotten the chance to really decide for herself one way or another, had left a hole in her she couldn’t quite fill. She’d had partners of course, human and vampire alike with various degrees of love and success but nothing that had come close to feeling like the true partnership she’d imagined marriage to feel like.
Harlow had long ago decided to live her life as regret-free as possible, which meant not giving herself time to pine away on dreams of “what-if”, it was unproductive and distracting. Some of her fellow coven mates thought she was being cold about it, but they were the kind to often enjoy talking about their human lives as something to be missed. Perhaps it was because she was born in a relatively “modern age” than most of her coven mates, but she really couldn’t understand the appeal of 18th century France, no matter how Sabine and Olivier carried on about it.
The only person who seemed to share Harlow’s views was Phibe Williams, a former slave from South Carolina. “I will never look back,” Harlow recalled her saying one night when Sabine and Alice had been chattering about how much they missed the fancy gowns and brightly colored parties they’d attended while they were alive. Sabine and Alice never brought the subject up again in Phibe’s presence. Harlow wished they’d show her the same courtesy.
But just because she didn’t want to spend ALL her time thinking about it didn’t mean it was absent from her thoughts in the quiet hours of the late evenings. The only person who really understood her complicated feelings on the matter was Li Na, a Chinese woman who’d been rescued from prostitution by Olivier during the California Gold Rush. The women had talked at length one evening about the utterly terrible circumstances that had brought them into contact with Olivier and what life might have been like if they hadn’t. While they both knew the ultimate answer was “death”, Li Na admitted to leaving behind a man who had professed to love her before she’d been tricked into boarding a boat to California.
“What if I had stayed in China? I might have had lots of cute children and been resting with my ancestors in peace,” she sighed.
“Before I found out what an asshole he was, I thought Henry and I would have made a good couple,” Harlow admitted. “Then he stole money from the bank and almost murdered me so probably not good husband material you know…”
“Yeah, sometimes I try to placate myself by thinking that there was a high chance I might have died in childbirth like my aunt but it still doesn’t stop me from wondering what having children might have been like…” Li Na agreed. “But, even when I think about the bad things, it doesn’t stop me from day-dreaming about the good what-if’s.”
Harlow thought that was a really wise thing to say and told her so.
“Well, I AM your elder you know, I should say wise things!” Li Na had teased her before they’d both decided to go out for the evening and people watch before they got too nostalgic for their own peace of mind.
There would be time for dreams later, new and old but living in the present was a genuine gift, no matter how corny that sounded.
Prompt generated from this list of 120 One Word Writing Prompts and the use of Google’s Random Number Generator. Number & Coordinated Theme Generated: 56 – Dreams.