I kept a diary when I was human. I wrote silly little girl things in it, about the boys I had crushes on or the fights I could hear my parents having or what I wanted for my birthday. The stupid stuff that feels so big when you’re young. And I remember, I kept this list in it, I called it “MY STUFF.” Like a catalogue of all the things I owned. The mix tape my friend Stacy made me, with that Backstreet Boys song. My headband collection from Claire’s. The postcard my cousin sent me from New York City (she called it “The Big Apple” and said she’d never had pizza so good in her entire life). The Aerosmith CD with all the nipples on it, which I nicked from a garage sale and never told my parents about.
But now that I’m a vampire, and I’m gonna live forever, it’s weird to think about owning things. That STUFF would ever be mine. Possessions come and go. They’re found, lost, they deteriorate or lose their value. Even sentiments fade away eventually. Look at me and Hoyt. We used to be as real as anything on that list, and now, well, we’re just a dusty ol’ memory being stuffed in a box.
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.
Do you ever get the sense that something big is about to happen to you? Like you might fall in love or fall out of love or you might fall through the cracks of the earth and disappear into it? Lodged in between layers of rock and dirt with feet pounding over your head so many miles away, it just sounds like a million muffled heart beats...? There’s no reason or explanation, it’s just a feeling you can’t shake and you can’t really make any sense of it. It’s kinda like the way I felt right after losing my virginity. Well, technically I’m always losing my virginity, but you know what I mean. The first time. I was walking around and my legs felt different, my arms looked different, older or longer or like they moved in new ways. And there was something in front of me, in my future, that just wasn’t there before. Maybe it’s because my blood is in another man now, or maybe it’s because I’m growing up and this is just another growing pain. Or maybe, just maybe, something really is gonna happen. And then I can say I told you so. I guess we’ll have to find out.