“You remind me of someone.”
“Someone from another lifetime.”
“Was she pretty?”
“Oh, Laurette.” He squeezes my arms and pulls me to his lips. “I would get lost in the jade of her eyes. A luscious green paradise.”
“The most beautiful I’ve ever seen.”
We spend the night together, and the next morning, still pressed against my body, he asks, “Is it weird to want to marry you after just one date?”
To any other person, it should be, but I’m not getting any younger—the ticking clock echos in my empty uterus—and pickings are slim, so I tell him, “I don’t want to wait.”
I know my mom will accuse me of settling if I tell her too soon, so I wait to the very last minute to call her, when we’re at the Justice of the Peace, and forth in line to be wed.
She rushes down to meet us but stops dead in her tracks upon seeing him.
“Mom, this is my fiancé—”
He clears his throat, adjusts his blazer across his broad shoulders. “Uh, it’s uh, Elijah.”
She points a shaky finger at the mole on his chin. “You look so much…”
But before she can finish that statement, our number is called, and we stand underneath the state seal on the wall behind us, and the officiant, who calls us his easy couple because we have no vows and no rings, simply asks us, “Do you want to be married?” We both say yes, and we share a kiss, and the officiant signs the document, along with Mom.
On the ride home, Mom tells us of her grandfather, who allegedly had the gift of eternal youth, until he mysteriously disappeared one afternoon when she was seven.
“Ma’am, I assure you!” His voice fills the car. “I may have salt and pepper hair, but I am not that old.”
“And not too old for me!” I add.
Not too old to fill my womb, and that’s just what he does.
But on the eve of Laura’s twelfth birthday, he vanishes into the night after an argument erupted when I compared my wrinkled hand to his unblemished skin, absent of any markings of our years spent together.
I browse through old photo albums Mom sent over years ago to pass the time as I wait for his return. And just like her the day of my wedding, I freeze in horror at the sight of the black and white photo. At the salt and pepper hair, the broad shoulders, the mole on the left side of his chin. And it’s then that I realize I am my great-grandmother, and my mother, my daughter.
Until we meet again, at the witching hour…