“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”
William Shakespeare, The Sonnets, 116
1. Going Forward
It was familiar. My dreams were always familiar, like a novel that you read repeatedly. However, unlike turning the page and knowing what you would read next, I never seemed to get comfortable with my dreams. Like the sound of a clock’s chime when you know you have an appointment you would rather not keep. It might be very musical, almost enjoyable, but with some unwelcome impending event looming over your head, the chime becomes brass, and sharp; irritating rather than pleasant.
This dream was like my others, familiar, but confusing. I found myself in the meadow, “our” meadow. The one where, Edward and I had declared ourselves to each other. Our relationship was “young” in terms of time and convention. However, neither Edward nor I saw us as young or conventional. My mother once told me that I was born 35 years old. I never quite understood what she meant by that, until I came to Forks to live with my dad. Until I met Edward, who like me, was an old soul, in a young body. The difference was, he was a much older soul than I was, but now was also younger. Being a vampire, Edward was not aging. Being perpetually 17, I had now passed him in age by over a year, having celebrated my eighteenth birthday, and getting close to my nineteenth.
My last birthday was an event I tried very hard to eliminate from my memory; the birthday, and the chain of events that it set into motion. The worst being Edward’s self-sacrificing attempt at leaving me for my own good, after his vampire brother, Jasper, tried to kill me. My separation from Edward was the darkest, most painful time of my life, and one that I knew I could not endure again. Had it not been for my best friend Jacob Black, I would not have survived the first time.
Jacob was another point of pain that, although I might like to forget, I would not let myself. His pain, pain that I was responsible for, was real and ongoing. Pain that he, in a desperate attempt to escape, had fled the company of both his family and me. As part of my penance for that pain, I would endure my own, by keeping him safe and present in my memory. Especially the day I confirmed to him, that I had chosen Edward over him.
The truth, a truth that I had tried, but could not make Jacob see, was that there never was any choice; not for me. Forcing myself to remember the pain of that day was the least, and a very pitiful amount, that I could do for my best friend and my lost other love. That fact that he was a werewolf seemed fitting in this odd existence of mine.
During Edward’s self-imposed exile from my life, Jacob had held me together when it seemed I would break into pieces from grief. In the darkness of my despair, he was my personal sun, as I had once thought of him. I had in fact considered trading my one true love, for my other love, Jacob’s love. I considered trying to attempt to be happy for Jacob’s sake rather than for myself. However, fate had other plans; plans which included meeting the controlling coven of the vampire world; The Volturi. Plans which also set me as the catalyst in a war which pitted Edward and his family along with Jacob and his werewolf brothers, against a wild out of control newborn vampire army.
The leader of this army Victoria, in her attempt at getting revenge against Edward for killing her mate James, was a revelation in many ways. First, it brought me to the realization that I could never live without Edward. Of that, I thought I was already sure, but when faced with a choice between Edward and Jacob, I knew without reservation or equivocation what that choice had to be; what it always had to be. Second, because I could not live without Edward, I could not stay human; not just, because I was aging, but also because I was physically vulnerable. My near death experiences with the Volturi, Victoria, and most especially James, confirmed the necessity of me becoming a vampire like Edward. Within Edward’s own family, I was vulnerable. The Cullen’s moral choice to live on animal blood instead of human blood was a discipline, not a proclivity. Jasper’s attack on my birthday was proof of that. Thirdly, Victoria’s attack revealed the truly tyrannical, sinister, and unstable nature of the Volturi and their minions.
In my dream however, in our cherished meadow, these things seemed very far away. Yet, somehow, they were not. They were there, in every flower, every tree, and every blade of grass. Nevertheless, I did not worry about those things as I looked across the meadow, and over its expanse saw Edward blazon in the sun. The prisms of his skin, shot out rainbow colored rays, which seemed to direct themselves at me, engulfing me, pulling me closer to his waiting arms. Those waiting arms were one of the most compelling things in my world. Icy cold to the touch, they sparked fire in my body every time he held me. As I moved forward toward him, he smiled my crooked smile. The smile that revealed the hopeful seventeen year old boy that stilled lived within the heart of the hundred and six year old vampire.
As I continued my journey towards him, my heart wanted nothing more than to be in his embrace, but my body felt bombarded with a feeling of foreboding. I felt as though something was watching us, that this meadow of private sanctity was being breached by a terrible presence. As I continued to move forward to Edward, I began to look around, peering through the darkness beyond the trees which lined the perfect circle of the meadow. I saw nothing, but I felt something.
I felt the presence all around, and yet invisible. It was angry, and envious. It was scheming, grasping and deadly. Yet, it was only a feeling, nothing tangible, but with every step, I took toward Edward it seemed to grow in oppressing strength. I was afraid, and I did not know why. I wanted to scream out of confusion, and desperation. What was it? Where was it coming from? Was it yet another obstacle trying to prevent us from being together?
Having weathered so many obstacles to our relationship already, I felt we had been through enough. Edward and I had both suffered grief in our relationship. Edward himself had suffered with the thought of his selfishness in pursuing me. After all, what could come of his relationship with me? He had struggled with not giving into his nature and killing me for the blood in my veins that tempted him more than any other. The attempts on my life, the danger to the Cullen’s, Charlie, Jacob and the Quillayutes, had all resulted from our ill-advised love for each other. I had suffered grief of the most acute kind, when Edward left. I felt as though a large hole had been torn through my center, and it remained raw and painful. I shuddered at the thought. After going through all of that, was a happy ending too much to ask for?
With all of my reasoning, I tried to push the presence out of the meadow. It remained, haunting, and heavy. I began to panic, but then I saw Edward’s eyes. Full of love and conviction, they were all I needed. I was almost within reach of his arms, secure, and happy, when Edward dropped his arms almost in despair, and his eyes changed. They looked confused, they looked painful, and they looked sad. The ancient sadness I had seen before. Sadness that caused him pain that, I would give my own life from which to save him. I wondered at the change in his eyes. Had he felt the invading presence too? I circled the meadow again with my gaze, still I saw nothing; I only felt it. I looked back to Edward, and his gaze met mine again, he crossed his arms, closed his eyes in pain, and turned away from me. I was desperate; I did not know what to do. Why had he turned away from me? It was then that I realized he had seen something in my face; something that caused him sadness: something that caused him pain. I felt my own familiar pain returning, raw and savage. I wanted Edward, but his stance told me he did not want me; I began to shake.