It had been three months since Edward left. At first I feared that the days would tick by with excruciating slowness, like the indomitable drip of a leaky fauce,t or the eternity it takes for the life to flow out of the eyes of a newborn colt while my lover drinks its blood. But instead I found myself gasping for air at how fast I was speeding towards my own old age, and with it, the promise of mortality.
Edward had been my everything, and while I was with him, the novelty of his vampiric abilities had distracted long enough from that which had haunted me since my childhood: the terror of a long, tedious life. I’d always said there was nothing as horrifying, as gruesome, as the thought of growing old the way women do: nattering about, fixing their hair, injecting needles into their face, starving themselves and plumping up again in an effort to regain what they had lost in youth. A grim irony, for if they could remember what it was like to be a teenage girl they would be dying their hair gray and drawing the wrinkles on smooth faces.
Two months after Edward left, I was struck by the change in my appearance. I seemed to have aged decades in the course of weeks, I was gaunt and refused to eat the food that tasted like paper at Fork High’s cafeteria. My friends Lauren and Jessica asked me what was wrong and kept at the pretenses of caring for a bit, but woman’s true nature eventually shows through, and soon they showed more interest in snickering at me behind my back than sitting with me in the bathroom while my sobs echoed off the linoleum and shook the surrounding forests of Washington.
But by the third month I had embraced my new changes, and even welcomed them for what they truly were…heralds of my impending old age and all that it implied. I imagined myself like a backwards lost boy from Peter Pan: not stubbornly clinging to my youth, but proclaiming “I will grow up! I will be an invalid by 22!” If time would do for me what I was not brave enough to do myself, it was a miracle, not a curse. Despite the hole in my heart for what I once considered the only being capable of understanding the dullness of living forever, every day that passed made me wish for his return less and less, until soon his memory was monstrous, interchangeable with the concept of eternal life.
And that was when he returned. I had been sitting in my bedroom, waiting patiently for time to pass through me, age me, when I felt a breeze through my window. I turned around. There was the alabaster Edward, and his sight did not fill me with joy, as it should have, but with a bleak resignment. My heart thudded, dully. Edward stared at me for awhile, and those dead baby eyes that had seen so much in their lifetime pierced through my skull. I had a headache. The roar in my temples reverberated and in the distance I could hear Jacob, my sometimes-conjugal wolf friend, howl in despair.
“My darling Bella,” he murmured, “I have returned for you.”
I shivered and turned away from his touch that promised nothing for me but death, sweet death eternal, though one without respite from the constant water drip of the faucet. I realized now that what Edward offered wasn’t a true end to mortality, one with peace and absolute silence, but more of what I feared. Life, monotonous life forever. Could there be any purgatory more tailored to what I deserved? “Don’t bother,” I murmured, and left the room to draw myself a warm bath and search for the razors again.
Sylvia Plath is dead. She would have been 78 this month. This is her first foray into teen fantasy novels.