Thursday, April 5, 2012
Can't Go Home Again
Hi, this is Tabitha again. After I posted the last entry, Kirsten read it and said, "It was pretty good, but..."
Oh, Kirsten. There is always a "but."
I took the bait, as I knew I was supposed to, and said, "But what?"
"Well..." she replied, as though she hadn't planned what to say, although I knew she had.
"But what?" I repeated, rapidly running out of patience.
"Well, you kind of left a lot of loose ends!" Kirsten said in a burst of words.
"Like what?" I asked, although I knew which ones she meant. See, this is all part of my denial. Some things are too hard to think and talk about. Believe it or not, becoming a vampire and being hunted down in the forest are not the hardest parts to speak of. So I talked about those things, and left out the rest.
Kirsten replied, "Well... you didn't tell them why you still live here, even though you have enough self-control to be around humans now. You didn't tell them what happened to your grandparents, or to your mother and stepfather. You said that the authorities think you ran away, but not what that means in practical terms. You left people with a lot of questions, Tabs!"
Much as I hate to admit it, Kirsten is right. Now I'm going to answer them.
It was October when I got here. At that time, though, I was more like a wild animal than a person. I couldn't control myself, and I didn't see much point in trying. As far as I knew, I was a monster. So why not act like one?
It took awhile for my new family to convince me otherwise. To convince me that I could do better, and I should try. It took even longer for me to learn to control my vampire instincts, rather than my vampire instincts controlling me.
During that time, I couldn't have been around humans. Sadly, by the time I was myself again, both of my grandparents had passed away. I felt horrible, thinking they were worried about me at the end - but fortunately, no one told them I was missing. They thought I was living happily with my mom. By the end, both of them were pretty out of it mentally, so I don't think they would have had sufficient memory to realize I was no longer visiting. I still really wish I'd gotten to see them one last time, though, even though I understand it was impossible.
My biggest regret is the people I killed in the woods, but my second biggest is that I never got to say goodbye to my grandma and grandpa. They raised me, and loved me... and they deserved a goodbye. I'm glad, though, that they didn't have to be aware that anything was wrong. Taking an out-of-control vampire to visit a nursing home just wouldn't have worked, but I think they knew I loved them. I found out they had a picture of me in their room until the end. It means a lot to me that they still cared.
My mother and stepfather were another story.
The Greens and Roses knew that it would be awhile before I could live anywhere else but here. I'm in control of myself most of the time now, but I still need some help. I'm not yet ready to go live among regular people who don't understand what I am. My new family is also sensitive to the fact that my stepfather used to hit me and my mom didn't stop him, and they understood that I was conflicted about whether I would ever want to live in my old home, even if I could. They would never have forced me to go back.
Having visits was a possibility, though... or even just letting them know I'm safe. They didn't do a good job of raising me, but I didn't want them to be afraid I was dead. I thought maybe it would be okay if they knew where I was, and that I was happy and didn't need any help from them.
By December, I was doing well enough that my new family felt they could broach the possibility with my mom and stepfather. Blakeney and the girls were supposed to see them at a holiday gathering anyway, so they thought they could bring it up subtly.
They did. And as soon as they said my name, my stepfather said, "Frankly, it's a relief to me that she's gone. Tabitha was trouble." My mother nodded, and added, "It's better this way."
Better that they thought I was a runaway? Better that I might be dead? Apparently so, as long as I was out of their way. It hurts to know they felt that way - although I'm glad my family told me the truth about what they said - but I'm not really surprised they said it. I'm glad Blakeney and Bree didn't tell my mother or stepfather where I am after all. They didn't deserve to know.
The police in my old hometown think I'm a runaway. It seems like a "typical" story - teen foster kid, always getting in trouble, ditches foster home and school and takes off. The authorities have no reason to think there was foul play, or that I didn't leave voluntarily. There are no leads about where I went. My parents aren't exactly beating down the precinct doors with their concern, and their indifference contributes to the police assuming I'm fine somewhere. Technically I'm a missing person, but there's not a whole lot of effort going into finding me. Either I'll come back, they figure, or I won't.
I won't. I have a family here that loves me and appreciates me. It took me a long time to believe and accept that, but I do now. My new family doesn't think they'd be better off without me. They don't think I'm a burden, even under the circumstances where they found me and had to take me in. They want me here. Finally, someone wants me. I have no intention of going anywhere else.