When I was 16, I dated a vampire.
I didn't know it at the time. He was just a boy. But I loved him desperately. like one might love a rescue team, or the last train out of childhood's refugee camp. And he loved me like one might love a potted plant, like a bit of greenery that shows up during the holidays, on the window sill with all the others.
I came to know he was a vampire like most people, with the biting. It was a sultry afternoon and he was driving me across town, the engine rumbling like desire. When I turned toward him, he kissed my neck and I felt a sharp, deep sting like that of a blood draw. I let out a cry and my fingers moved to the wet spot on my neck, feeling a small puncture and a flap of skin.
Eventually, the puncture closed. But the flap of skin never healed. When bored, or listing toward a night of newfound insomnia, my fingers would drift up and push the flap of skin back and forth, feeling its deadness against my jugular.
When the vampire moved away, I began dating someone new. A nice boy who didn't drive. And one day, the flap of skin was gone. I remember because it was right after I turned toward him and tasted his sweet, soft neck.