Story – I [As yet untitled]
She was six the first time Ian saw her. In comparison to his own, her life was at the pale beginning of what he knew as a short, repetitive story. Humans were born, and gone in what seemed like moments to him. Like everyone else that had ever been a part of the life around him, she looked fragile and innocent, yet he knew the years would chew her up in the blink of his eye. Time was too fast for humans, but for him, it was an eternity of the slow. For someone like him, there was no night, no end, no death, just a long while that seemed forever like a day.
As her parents busily unloaded their SUV and carried their stuff up to their first floor apartment that opened right on the street, she wandered some steps further from the safety of the sidewalk and on to the side of the road, looking the perfect image of a small confused child absorbing the strange neighborhood she had just landed in. And a strange neighborhood it was indeed; which is why it irked Ian that they had gotten an apartment there, especially when they had a small child. It wasn’t a residential neighborhood. It was a bumbling shopping place all day, and the two bar places were enough to provide all and any sorts of entertainment in the night. Not the neighborhood one would want to raise a child in.
“Su Ae, get back on the sidewalk, a car might hit you.”
His ears picked the sound of her mother’s voice as she climbed back down the stairs to retrieve more of their belongings. She turned back to her mother, and smiled perhaps, because her mother smiled at her in return. She took dogged steps back to the sidewalk, hopping at the last step and ran to the car. Su Ae, Ian thought as a barrage of memories jolted his mind, an unusual name he hadn’t heard in a long time. “There are some sins you can never be free of,” the voice rang clear as day in his mind. Although preferred otherwise, he knew some memories of his life were always there to haunt him. Mood a little dimmed, he turned his attentions back to the coffee that lay on the table in front of him. It had gone cold.
How long had he stared at the girl, he wondered? Picking up the coffee, he turned his attention back to the book he had brought with him and started reading it again. Within minutes his attention was diverted again, and he decided to give it up. Picking up his book, and downing the coffee in one nauseous gulp, he put change on the table, and walked out the door. When he entered the street, Su Ae had walked back to the end of the sidewalk, and stared straight at him. Her open gaze left him strangely surprised and curious. What would a six year old see and understand about him? He was everything an average human would be. At six feet tall, in what would appear to be his early twenties, Ian had a striking jaw line that accented his face and made it seem sterner with sharp but deep blue eyes with an impossibly soft touch of the color. His hair was a blond hay color, deepened at the roots by a darker brown. Contrary to what people may believe, it was his natural hair color and he had rarely changed it over the centuries. All else, his existence, and the proof of it, was as human looking as could be. He chuckled inwardly at the thought as he stared back at the girl. How would she see him any differently? As if she sensed his inward smile, Su Ae smiled at him. When he saw her smile at that moment; he realized it would be a memory that would remain with him forever.
Maybe it wasn’t a bad thing they had moved to this neighborhood after all, he unconsciously thought. Perhaps being neighbors might not turn out as bad as he originally thought.