The first time I realized that Marisa might have an inkling of what I was occurred at a banquet her father held to honor a visiting senator.
I was seated next to Marisa, as always, and when the servants brought out the many different courses for the guests, I endeavored to snare Marisa in conversation. This was how I was able to distract others from the fact that I did not eat, that I never ate.
In fact, after the change, I never needed food or drink again.
As I prattled on about this or that, commenting on what the senator’s wife was wearing, how abominable the heat was this summer, Marisa suddenly turned her vivid green eyes onto my face and said, “You are not eating.”
It was not a question – it was a statement.
I hesitated before saying, “No, I am not. I don’t feel very well today.”
She continued as if she didn’t hear me or didn’t regard what I had said: “You never eat.”
The question was there, written upon her face. But what scared me was that there was no confusion, no fear in her eyes.
I was pulled by the magnet of her eyes, unable to look away. Unable to answer her. The wall that I had carefully constructed for centuries, hoping that it would hold in everything that I was, everything that made me so different, was beginning to crumble. I could feel my defenses falling in pieces around me.
For the first time, I felt a thrill run through me. I realized I didn’t care if she found out what I was now, in this room full of fragile humans. I was tired of waiting, tired of the unsufferable loneliness. I wanted her to know me for what I truly was. If my heart had been working, I swear it would have beat faster in that moment.
Then the spell was broken as the person seated on the other side of Marisa called her attention to something. She looked away, dragging her eyes reluctantly from my face. The firm set of her lips seemed to suggest that she would not forget, and that I would have to satisfy her curiosity later on.
But Marisa was not to learn of my condition until our wedding night.