vendredi 20 mai 2011
Die for me Vincent Point de vue
J'ai trouvé ce passage sur le site d'Amy Plum source
I wrote the following after DIE FOR ME was completed. It is Vincent’s point of view, starting before the beginning of the book’s narrative.
The first time I saw the girl, it felt like the earth had suddenly slipped one tiny notch on its axis and began rotating at a slightly different angle. Afterward, my world was off-balance, gradually wobbling away from its stable orbit to spin off in the direction of deep space.
I couldn’t figure out why the girl had thrown my thoughts into such chaos, but felt that if I could, my life would be restored to normal. Of course, in my case, the terms “life” and “normal” could only be used tongue-in-cheek. But this was no joke: I had spent decades carefully and methodically protecting my stability—I had to end the emotional vertigo she was causing me. So I began to follow her.
Following is a regular part of our routine. It’s what we do. That’s why none of the others clued in to that fact that I was up to something. “Hey, there’s that sad girl again,” Ambrose would say as, time after time, we trailed her down to the riverside. She would sit and stare at the churning water until it seemed like it was only the husk of her body that was there, in the middle of Paris, in the dead of winter, dressed only in a light jacket and acting like she couldn’t be touched by the weather. By the world. Because someone—or something—had sucked the life right out of her.
That’s the only place she ever went. To sit by the Seine. Besides the couple of times she ventured out of her building—a mere five-minutes from our home—and began to head in another direction. For a few blocks, she’d walk hesitantly, as if she were going somewhere on a dare, and then, hunching over like the sky had suddenly dropped down to head-level, she raced back to her building, slamming the door behind her. She looked like she was being chased by ghosts.
I’ve been on the street for what seems like forever, and I’ve seen a lot of crazies. This girl wasn’t crazy: she was suffering.
Let me take a step back at this point and clear something up: this wasn’t just a case of falling for a human. This was like taking a nosedive over Niagara Falls. I’ve never felt anything close to it, even though I’ve come into contact with a lot of girls over the decades, many of whom made it clear enough that they were interested. Not meaning to sound stuck-up, but revenants are attractive. It’s part of what we are. Even if some of us aren’t what you’d call “classically handsome” (or “classically beautiful”), when we animate that first time, physical allure becomes part of the package. And, like everything else in “the package”, it’s there for a reason. People look at us and they automatically trust us. With their lives. Which just makes our work all that much easier.
Until now. Until the girl’s long dark hair, blue-green eyes, and dark shroud of misery became inexplicably etched into my brain, and I was helpless to do anything but follow her. To spend every possible second—or at least as much time as possible without arousing suspicion amongst my kindred—inside her radius.
And then, just like that, she disappeared. For months. For four months and thirteen days, to be exact. And during that time, I learned what it meant to be spun for a loop. To spend twenty-four hours a day with my mind wandering, wondering where she was and what she was doing. And most maddening of all, obsessed over why this—yes, beautiful, but not in the usual way—girl had succeeded in doing what no one else had done in over half a century: she had utterly and completely mesmerized me.
Although I’ve seen eighty-some years pass by, I guess my communication skills got stuck at eighteen when I first died. Or maybe it’s just my pride—I’m so used to being the one in the House who “doesn’t need love”—that being indifferent to girls has kind of become a point of honor for me. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t talk to my kindred about it. I mean, even if I had, they would have been horrified. Because if it ever got to the point where we became close, it would be too dangerous. Not only for us, but for her. Pulling someone like her into our world would be about the stupidest—and most selfish—thing I could do.
Jules and Ambrose are both dating machines, but they both know what it would mean to seriously fall for a human. Charles has had his fair share of short-term romances, but he’s so seriously messed up and angsty that girls aren’t exactly on his radar at the moment. And Charlotte has her unrequited love thing going on, so it would be cruel to bring the subject up with her. As for talking with Jean-Baptiste and Gaspard…I can’t even think about going there.
But I had almost gotten to the point of desperation—I was practically on the verge of confessing to Jules—when she came back. And my life, or afterlife if you want to get technical, suddenly made sense again. I began following her everywhere.
Besides lingering shadows under her eyes, the dark circles were gone. Her sallow pallor had been replaced by a healthy glow. Her sky seemed to have lifted, because she now walked standing straight. And her hopelessness had turned into something else: defiance. As if she was standing up to something terrible and proving that it couldn’t beat her down. I was even more obsessed with the girl’s new incarnation, and, although the others hadn’t copped on to the fact that I was constantly trailing her (she lived in the neighborhood, so it was normal enough to cross her path on a regular basis) they knew that something was up.
Then one day I saw her at our regular café—the Café Sainte-Lucie. Jules was telling Ambrose and me some crazy story from his beatnik artist past, when I looked over and there she was across the terrace from me, reading a book. For once, I hadn’t followed her: she was just there. I wasn’t prepared, and couldn’t tear my eyes away from her face. After a minute, she looked up and her crystal water-colored eyes met mine. From that point on I was lost. There wasn’t a hope in hell of breaking the girl’s hold on me.
I have been obsessed before. It’s an occupational hazard. If a revenant takes a fall for someone, gets stabbed, burned, or goes as far as dying for someone, they’re going to want to know if their sacrifice has made a difference in the person’s life. Following your rescues is discouraged, of course. But I must have a hundred names saved in my web browser’s electronic alerts. Even if it’s been years since I saved them, I want to know how my rescues are doing, and if anything shows up about them on the internet, I’m the first to know about it.
This is different, though. I can’t help myself. The girl leads me from museum to cinema to café. I feel like I know her now. She likes all types of art, but gravitates towards paintings. She’s a regular at the old places that show classic movies, and always sits in the middle row: I know the back of her head by heart. And she barely even people-watches at the café. Once she picks up a book, she’s gone for hours. I know her expressions. Recognize her moods. I tell myself that I do know her. As much as I can safely know any human. But it isn’t enough.
Although I’ve seen her a couple of times with other people—a strawberry-blond girl who acts close enough to be her sister, and an older couple that I would peg as grandparents—I’ve never heard them say her name. She is the center of my universe and I don’t know her name.
Meeting her, touching her, spending time with her—I know those are all impossible. About as likely as my transforming from undead back to human. But I feel if I could just know her name—the sound that identifies her…the combination of letters that, if I were able to speak it to her (and I’ve sworn I never would) would make her raise her head and look me in the eye—if I could only own those precious few syllables, I feel like it would be enough. I could live with that.