My six-year-old wakes me in the middle of the night by touching my face. I am groggy, but manage to whisper, “What’s up?”
“I had a bad dream.”
“Let’s get you settled back to bed,” I say. I force myself to sit up. It’s cold now that I’ve peeled back the comforter. Somehow we find each other’s hands in the dark. Hers is very warm. She leads me around the end of the bed and back to her room, where she dutifully crawls back under the covers. I turn on the CD. It’s music from the mobile (now dead) that hung over her crib when she was a baby. I must have listened to this music a thousand times now.
I kneel on the cold floor beside her low bed to kiss her good night.
“I want to tell you about it,” she says.
“If it won’t upset you, go ahead.”
“I dreamed there was vampire trying to get into the room.”
I don’t laugh. This is very serious. “What did he want to do?”
“He was trying to scare me. He wanted to chase us around.”
I don’t think she knows that vampires drink blood. I say, “People think vampires are scary, but they don’t really know them.”
“Do you know any vampires?” she asks, dark eyes luminous in the nightlight.
“Yes,” I tell her. “Her name is Katrina. She’s very nice.”
“How do you know she’s a vampire?”
“She told me.”
“What does she do?”
“She likes to drink other people’s blood. But only after she asks them and they say it’s okay.” I stop myself before I get any deeper into the story than that. Someday, I think, she will be old enough to read the book of first-person essays I edited. She can discover the sexual fetish side of vampirism for herself. Now, she seems to be comforted. She yawns and snuggles into her pillow.
“Can you rub my back?” she asks.
“Sure, Baby.” I reach under her pajama top. Her skin always seems feverish to me. She’s warm-blooded, like her dad.
I feel her relax under my hand. Sometimes, I tell myself, I actually do know just what to say. Sometimes I am a good mom.
Causes Loren Rhoads Supports