I had a couple of hours to kill before heading over to the tavern, so once again, I availed myself of the knives, blotting paper, copious amounts of steam and suchlike and ventured once more into the realms of recovering pages of my older journals. Strangely, the two pages I was able to recover both were about beginnings. One was a very short entry, noting the fact that Alexandra’s father had finally consented to the marriage, written, so far as I could see, the morning after the captain and my fellow officers had celebrated said engagement. It wasn’t the easiest entry to read as it seemed to have suffered the most from water damage.
The other, was about another beginning. Some months later, written in Bremerhaven. I remember that morning, sitting on a bench, looking down at the docks. It was the morning after that first time I went back to Katharina’s apartment, in that guest house on Grazer Straße. That was the first night we became intimate, even if we did not consummate the relationship fully. That came on the next trip. I well remember the doubt and confusion about what had transpired. The friendship with Katharina was one my ship-mates had teased me about, because I preferred drinks and conversations with her, rather than rumbustious bouncing around with the more nubile denizens of the Blumengarten. I had never intended it to become an emotional attachment, still less a physical one. But yet, it had happened. In my mind, my feelings for Katharina did not lessen my feelings for Alexandra, even if part of me felt that it should, or that I should feel guiltier. I recall that I eventually convinced myself that I had the capacity to love more than one person. Now, I am not so sure. As I said in my last journal entry, I am no longer sure that I can allow myself to love anybody, save, perhaps, for another of my kind, much as part of me longs for that sense of belonging, of completeness. I think I miss that more than I do the physical intimacies that I indulged in so freely as a youth. Neither seems likely at the moment, with so few people around in the Cove. At least I have the friendship with Sophia. She, at least, understands how it is with kind, and I can talk freely with her.
Looking through that second entry, one bit stands out:
“Through all the heat of our lovemaking, her skin seemed cool and refreshing against mine. She sent me away long before dawn, fearing there would be talk if the building manager were to see me.”
How little I knew then. Had I known the things I know now, I might have wondered about that, or might even have gotten a clue. But, of course, back then, I would not have believed vampires, or indeed any of the other supernatural beings I take for granted now, existing outside of myth, folklore and fantasy fiction. How little I knew indeed.