When I was four years old, I was convinced I was a vampire.
I had by that time watched a surprising number of old vampire movies. There was the classic Dracula, of course, but there was also one that I can still picture in my mind that focused on two vampire hunters. I liked it because I thought the dark-haired hunter was Larry Storch, and at the time I was also a huge fan of F Troop reruns. (I had also watched a lot of Hogan's Heroes.)
Those of you who know me are, right now, sitting back and saying OH MY GOD, NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE.
I had pointy teeth.
They're called incisors.
I thought that was all that was needed.
I was clearly missing some important nuances at four.
Weirdly enough, I was never a biter. And even more weirdly, I loved sucking on lemons like the vampires written about in Vampires in the Lemon Grove, a lovely short story (and collection) by Karen Russell. Pick it up, if you haven't read it.
I'm pretty sure The Count on Sesame Street was my gateway vampire.
I remember one late night, maybe even early morning, I was awoken by a thunderstorm. I don't remember being scared, but I decided to go where I always went when it was dark and stormy in Richardson, Texas: my parents' room.
I slipped out of my bed and quietly crept toward the hallway. I was wearing what felt like to me a very fancy, silken nightgown (it was 100% polyester from Sears Roebuck, I'm sure), like a tiny daughter of Dracula with a 1970s shag haircut.
Frank Langella owes me royalties.
I tip-toed in the shadows. I took special care not to step into the illumination of the flashing lighting on the floor. I had watched so many vampire movies that I instinctively knew to stay out of the light. I was a child of the night (who was scared of the dark)!
Night lights didn't count.
Had anyone seen me, I might have actually been terrifying. What's scarier than a four year old girl creeping in the shadows avoiding the flash of lighting in the middle of the night?
I just scared myself.
I have since learned that I am not actually a vampire, of course. Which is a good thing - I really like garlic bread.