When Eleanor was 6, she was freckled and cute in a little-girl way. She was quiet and meek, a perfect example of how little girls should be. He parents doted on her, proud of their plump girl, proud of the quiet way she spoke, the shyness, the adherence to rules, the attention to cleanliness. Eleanor hated them.
Nobody knew Eleanor. She kept herself hidden away, frightened of her dark thoughts, the scenes she created while playing with her dollies, the stories she invented to explain the shadows in her head. Eleanor was haunted, she was sure.
As a teenager, Eleanor realized she could read people’s minds. The motivations of the piggish crowds of ugly meat sacks that called themselves human were an open dirty book. Eleanor kept this hidden from everyone but the invisible men she amused herself with at night. They enjoyed hearing about her powers, and shared her pleasure.
At age 40, Eleanor woke up with the thought that she was alone in the world. She decided that this was not acceptable, and thus she began a search for a mate. She wrote an ad to post online, creating a profile of mystery and intelligence. Then she posed herself in the too-bright outdoors wearing her best underthings, striking a casual stance, dropping her face into a noncommital and proud expression, and snapped a photo.
In the first three men who responded to her ad she read sour lust, and thus they were discarded after mating.
The fourth was timid and unworthy, so was mercilessly teased with his worst fears, then sent home unsatisfied.
Number 5 admired her body, her clothing, and spoke bland words of love at first meeting. After two weeks he started trying to change her, so he was dispatched with biting mockery. Eleanor had no time to waste on such transparency.
Years went by, a parade of unworthy men wanting nothing more than to get to the soft flesh beneath her carefully-made costumes. These men were allowed access to only her body before being sent home weeping.
Into each even the darkest life a little light must shine, and on Eleanor's 46th birthday, it was her turn. They met for drinks, ordering glasses of wine the color of old blood and talking of books, veering into dark alleys of literature more and more obscure until they were certain they were the only two people alive who'd ever read what they were discussing. His eyes gleamed, and Eleanor could not see behind them. He was a mystery, and she was thrilled. She pursued him, and was excited. She made the first move, and wasn't disappointed.
On her 47th birthday, he proposed.
On her 48th, they married.
On her 49th, she gave birth to a pair of newborns with his eyes, her nose, and the barest hint of wingbuds. So much like their Daddy, except she could see them in the mirror as they suckled at her soft white neck. Eleanor welcomed the biting pain, ferociously happy, finally whole.
This for the wordsmiths. Happy birthday to me.