Tuesday, December 10, 2013

From "On the Town" - Some Other Time! - Eileen Farrell, Leonard Bernstein ... The Caretaker's Wife Dies..She was important to the elferinos and elferinas... 12/11/13

She gave then scarves and mittens. Every year she made them new ones. And they sat on the floor of the little caretaker's cottage listening to her sing. The elfie-folk liked the way she sang. Sometimes they heard songs from old movies, or Broadway musicals. The caretaker's wife knew them all. Her husband liked the songs too. He accompanied her on the piano.... Nothing grand. Just a small, worn upright salvaged from God knows where. If there were any other souls to hear it, the sound of music drifting from those walls must have seemed strange in such a place. But Laurel Hill is a place of subtle enchantment, a mellow, urban necropolis laced with narrow lanes tracing pilgrim paths through the bedrooms of the dead. 

Marianne, the more forward of the elferinas mouthed the words. She knew Oklahoma and September Song plus a lot of things from Gypsy. And she liked these evenings with the two old people. They were family. Much nicer than the previous couple, or the six other couples before them. By mortal standards, Laurel Hill was quite old... one hundred and sixty nine years old to be exact. But for the elferinos and elferinas it was still fairly new. Albion, the second elferino, sensed the illness. He was good at that. He could sniff it out. Oh, the others knew too. Even the caretaker, though mortal, knew it. But people, mortal and otherwise often like to ignore things. Death comes hard to the elfin ones, especially the death of someone they love.

When the caretaker's wife began to roll her eyes and fan herself with a printed program left over from a recent, graveside service, they knew. Albion felt every heartbeat, but he pretended to be interested in his new mittens. Oh, they could have saved her with a tiny drink of their blood, but she wouldn't have it. Neither would her husband. It's not that they didn't love the four enchanted creatures, for they did. They loved them dearly. But they were mortals and that's just how it was. Death did not scare them. They had a child over there and the final journey would presage reunion. The elferinos and elferinas wondered about that. Family relationships ... true family relationships were quite exotic to them. Most, indeed all, had been members of 'el mundo vampirido ' for hundreds of years. In their eyes human lives burn fast, much as ordinary mortals view the lives of dogs. And they still missed people from so long ago. Dogs, to them, are as dreams.

Celeste nudged Marianne and Marianne spoke. She said - Please, 'mother,' let us help you..... But they sick, old woman just shook her head, as the caretaker went to sit next to her. They held hands. She wheezed. He said - It's alright. She just needs some rest. To us it's late, you know, children..... He always called them that and they rather liked it. So after a bit they gathered up their new scarves and mittens, kissed the caretaker's wife on her cheek and left. But they didn't go far. Each took a seat on an old, cement bench, originally meant to front a small, Romanesque mausoleum, but the family rejected it for unknown reasons, so it wound up here. They watched from the outside, as the few, low lights went out and the couple repaired to their room in the back. After a while that light went out too. 

The child who passed rested nearby beneath a small stone topped with a little lamb. Most children's stones had themes like that.... somber cherubs... faithful puppies. That's how they did things in Laurel Hill. They pubescent vampires went over to visit the little dead one. But his ghost wasn't there. It never was. For he is in another place... and now his mother is too. Roland said it first..... She's gone - he whispered.... They stood there for the longest time, then went back to the mausoleum where they slept and cried. Celeste and Albion wanted to go back to the cottage. They wanted to be with the caretaker. But they knew they couldn't. A mortal couple was already there. A niece and nephew, I think it was. So they stayed where they were til the cold, morning light crept near. Then they settled in and slept as night-folk do. Each dreamed of other caretakers... mortal families... their families... gone and dead for centuries. But sometimes dreams are more than dreams...

And the dead have their dreams too...

Tomorrow night they'd use their blood to rescue fragile souls, but not now. This day the seventeenth century lived again and the elfin folk were there.

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