On my fifteenth birthday, after having dinner at the church with my family, I snuck out with a few friends. We said we were going to get some root beer floats at Linnea and Tony’s Diner, but instead we went to the park one town over, where the public school kids would gather with brown bagged forties and stolen vodka. I had never been before, but my friend Erica used to go all the time and she was introducing me to everyone. I forgot most of ‘em, but there was this girl there, Nikki... she smelled kinda bad, and her hair was all tangled. I think she did it on purpose, she called them dreadlocks or something, but it didn’t look so good. I asked where she was from and she said she was born in De Soto parish, but she lived on the streets now. When I asked her why, she said got nowhere else to go. Then she shrugged her shoulders, lit up a hand-rolled cigarette and smiled at me like I was the biggest idiot she’d ever seen. I never felt so sheltered, you know? I knew I was going home to my cozy little house, where my mama would be folding my underwear and baking fresh cookies or some shit. And although my daddy could be mean as a hell, I still had a roof over my head. Even after I was turned, I had the old Compton place. And then Hoyt and I had a home, all to ourselves.
But now? I really got nowhere to go. I wonder if Nikki’s still living on the streets or if she found herself a home. Or maybe home is just a feeling, and it doesn’t matter where your feet are. Maybe wherever you are, that’s home.